Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be (Eric Pasloe).
A dedicated mentoring programme for PhD students allows institutions to encourage students to progress with their thesis, connect PhD candidates with alumni and local peers, support academics in their professional development, and build a vibrant academic community at the institution.
International PhD students can particularly benefit from their engagement in an institutional mentoring programme by expanding their professional network in the host country, gaining knowledge about local academic culture and traditions, gain tangible academic/professional experience (e.g. workplace visits, shadowing, interview experience, placements, a graduate job), develop written and verbal communication in the local language. Academic mentoring programmes therefore greatly contribute to the professional and social integration of early-stage international scholars.
Improved skills and knowledge
|Categories||Profesional & Academic Development|
|Mobility stages||During mobility phase|
|Importance||Important to have|
|Scale of organizational change|
|Target groups||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers|
|Types of contracts of researchers||Full degree student Permanent employee|
|Career stages of researchers||Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience|
|Lengths of stays of researchers||0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months|
The set-up of an internal academic mentoring programme involves the following steps:
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|Time required for practice setup|
|Personnel effort required for practice setup|
|Actors involved in practice setup||
|Partners involved in practice setup||
|Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup||
Several higher education institutions and research organisations can team up to offer access to their respective academic mentoring programmes or to design one common programme to share resources.
Once the programme has been designed, its delivery will depend on the quality and availability of participating mentors and the interest of mentees (international PhD students). It is important that mentors represent different academic career pathways and have some international experience too.
Mentors can be recruited from the university's pool of supervisors/faculty members or from the partner higher education institutions or other organisations. Matchmaking between mentors and mentees can be organised through a dedicated online platform.
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|Personnel effort required for practice delivery|
|Actors involved in practice delivery||
|Partners involved in practice delivery||
|Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery||
The Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences provides support on establishing an institutional mentoring programme and offers its own mentoring programme, which consists of a two-month series of workshops and meetings helping students a) to define their career goals and the steps needed to achieve them (an Introductory Workshop organized in cooperation with the Centre for Gender and Science of the Czech Academy of Sciences), b) meet scientists and researchers from various fields (and at different stages of their career) who share their experience and advice, c) network with their peers.
All PhD students at Karolinska Institutet (KI) are entitled to have a mentor, but it can be hard to establish new connections, especially during pandemics. Therefore, the Doctoral Students' Association in collaboration with KI career service has created a virtual meeting place to find a suitable mentor within or outside of academia willing to give advice for any question PhD students might have.
eument-net is a network of mentoring programmes for the advancement of equal opportunities and cultural and institutional change in academia and research. The network pursues the following goals: