Erik holds an honorary Professorship with the Australian National University. He was a Professor and Head of School at Monash University from 2008 to 2012, and Deputy to the Pro Vice Chancellor at Monash University at the Berwick campus in 2012-2013. He completed a two year appointment as the Keith Cameron Chair in Australian History at University College Dublin, Ireland in 2015 and 2016.
His work received a commendation in the 2021 Victorian Community History Awards. His 2002 book, 'Steel Town: the making and breaking of Port Kembla' won the Community and Regional History category in the 2003 NSW Premier's History Awards.
His expertise covers Australian history especially regional, labour, social and environmental histories. He is also interested in heritage studies, mining in local and global contexts, social policy history, and community engagement. He is currently writing a history of the uranium mining town of Mary Kathleen.