Everybody deserves a mentor!
Undergraduates have a personal tutor. PhD students have a committee. All new appointments under probation are assigned a mentor. Why would PostDocs be the only people in the academic environment who do not receive guaranteed mentorship?
Why can't it just be my research supervisor?
Your research supervisor is a mentor, and a great source of knowledge!
However, other mentors will have a different perspective or experience that may help you in other areas, e.g. work/life balance, transitioning into a new career path, applying for fellowships.
It is important to receive guidance from somebody who is completely independent of your research outputs, who can provide balanced inputs on your professional and personal life.
How do I get a Mentor?
You can visit our mentors page to look at profiles of mentors that have signed up to the scheme. Each mentor has their own strengths which they have highlighted in a section about themselves. Please read these carefully and then contact the potential mentor to see if they are available. Finally, have a meeting to see if you click. Once you have found a mentor, or if you would like any advice, please contact Rob Huckstepp ( )
When should we meet?
Each mentor is different, and each mentee's circumstances are unique. There is no universal way to do this. However, you are required to meet your mentor before completing your annual personal development conversation form in preparation for your PDC.
Personal Development Conversation (PDC)
Personal development reviews are essential to your career progress. They are way to think about what you have achieved in the past year and what you aim to do in the next 12 months. It is a way to reflect on yourself and your environment, and to think about how you can get to where you want to be in life. After meeting with your mentor, you should complete a personal development conversation form with advice from your mentor ~2 weeks before your meeting with your supervisor, which should last about 30 minutes.
A vital component of both the mentoring scheme and PDC is self-assessment. An excellent, thought-provoking, and free online Individual Development Planning tool developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is available - http://myidp.sciencecareers.org/. Once you have signed up you can get information on different professional career paths, quantify your strengths & weaknesses, values & interests, and it also allows you to set up SMART objectives for yourself with personal email reminders.