Name: Dr Chris Gale
Institution: Imperial College London
Connection to the Academy: Mentee
“The mentoring scheme has provided me with an independent, unbiased and (gently) critical expert to discuss my ideas and plans with.”
I wanted a mentor because I realised that independence is increasingly important for academic success and recognised that independent, frank and expert advice was essential to develop this.
When I started the process of nominating someone, I did not really know who to approach; the huge range of Fellows within the Academy of Medical Sciences meant that I was able to consider academics who I would not have otherwise thought of.
When I met with my mentor, I found that we were very well matched and I was pleased to have chosen her. I selected a mentor who was based in a similar but not overlapping field, as a result she brings a different perspective but one that is grounded in extensive knowledge of the paediatric research landscape.
I found the workshop very useful. It helped me to structure my mentor-mentee meetings and my aims and objectives. Although this was a bit more formal that I had initially planned, it has helped me to focus the relationship on areas where support has been most valuable.
Being a mentee means that I regularly assess my medium and long-term goals and my plans for achieving them. This has greatly increased my confidence; as a result I have established a wide range of collaborations and projects. Without doubt mentoring helped me develop my successful MRC fellowship application. I would and have absolutely recommended the scheme to my colleagues, because the Academy’s scheme is entirely unique in that there is such a range and breadth of outstanding medical academics to choose from, and their structured mentoring skills programme attended by both mentees and mentors ensures expectations are both realistic and similar from the outset, which helps ensure the longevity of the relationship.