Since its inception in 2002, the Academy’s one-to-one mentoring scheme has been at the core of our initiatives in support of early career researchers.
One of the Academy’s six objectives is to ‘nurture the next generation of medical researchers,’ which is central to its overall vision of improving health through research. Over the last 14 years, the mentoring scheme has expanded to provide support for early career aspiring clinical researchers, veterinary and non-clinical researchers across the UK.
We are proud to announce that this week, we paired our 500th mentee with a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
The scheme brings together a postdoctoral biomedical researcher and an Academy Fellow from a different institution, to engage in an impartial mentoring relationship for between one and three years (on average). Sessions between the mentee and mentor might focus on areas of development to the mentee such as creating their own research ‘niche’, setting up their own lab, managing their own team, or developing a strong publication record. The scheme utilises the ‘modern developmental’ framework, whereby the mentee is the driving force behind the relationship, and has autonomy in deciding what is discussed and what actions to take - the mentor is there to support their decision making, acting as a sounding board to help them identify achievable goals and solutions.
Mentees have spoken overwhelmingly positively about their mentorship experiences through the Academy:
This scheme is unique because others tend to be more focussed on research and outputs. But this scheme, through pairing mentees with mentors outside of their institutions, means the relationship is based on the mentee, not their place of work. I felt the freedom to choose anyone from [the Academy’s] impressive list matching with my own views. Fellows were from a wide variety of backgrounds and research or management experience so there is a huge range of choice.” (Dr Hamidreza Mani, University of Leicester).
“All of my meetings have been extremely stimulating, useful and productive. So thanks a lot to the Academy for aiding in the matching up of mentors and mentees.” (Anon)
“The mentoring scheme has provided me with an independent, unbiased and (gently) critical expert to discuss my ideas and plans with.” (Dr Chris Gale, Imperial College London).
The mentoring has given me a lot more confidence, and has helped me to understand some of the “unspoken rules” of academia. I think that this has put me in a better position to attract further funding. Overall I have had a very positive experience. There is no substitute for in-depth discussions with someone who has already experienced everything that you are going through.” (Dr Nicola Wardrop, University of Southampton).
The Academy is passionate about supporting excellent young researchers in their aspirations to become the next generation of research leaders - medical scientists who are innovative, independent and exceptional. Many researchers in the first cohort of mentees have themselves been nominated and elected to the Academy's Fellowship, and we are confident many more will join the Fellowship in the future.