Officially launching today, the Flinders Researcher Mentoring Scheme pairs researchers in the early stages of their careers with experienced University academics who will act as their mentors, guiding and supporting them in all aspects of academic life.
Forging one-on-one relationships, mentors and mentees will meet monthly to tackle various challenges such as forming and maintaining fruitful collaborations, getting published, writing grants, maximising research output and achieving a balance between teaching, research and administrative demands.
Researchers will be paired with an academic outside of their own discipline to gain broader perspectives and improve their communication skills, while regular evaluations will be held throughout the course of the program to allow participants to reflect on actions and their personal development arising from the partnership.
With no limit on applicants, the 2012 program will see at least 25 early career researchers paired with 25 senior academics, including three mentees and one mentor from Flinders regional and interstate campuses in Darwin, Alice Springs and Mt Gambier.
Flinders Researcher Mentoring Scheme project manager Dr Marina Delpin (pictured) said the program was open to researchers who have finished their PhDs in the past five years and those who have joined the University in the past two years but completed their PhDs at least 10 years ago.
“This means our early career and newly appointed researchers will have access to high achieving senior academics who have been able to navigate their way through the system and can pass on their skills and strategies,” Dr Delpin said.
“We’re very excited about the mentors who are on board because this program will ensure their wisdom and knowledge is passed on to the next generation of researchers,” she said.
Dr Delpin said research from similar women’s-only schemes previously run at Flinders had demonstrated results in helping participants achieve their goals such as getting promoted and receiving higher grant income.
“The current program is different because it’s open to all staff and it has a strong research output focus, although we’re hoping it will achieve similar successful outcomes for our mentees,” she said.
About 50 people are expected to attend today’s program launch including Flinders Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor David Day, executive deans of faculties, as well as members of the Research Services Office and Professional Development Unit, who helped initiate the scheme.
Professor Day, a strong supporter of peer mentoring, said the program aimed to enhance the University’s research ethos while supporting researchers in their early academic careers.
“It’s about fostering the research culture within Flinders and promoting research excellence, which is largely measured by research output and grant income, while at the same time enhancing the careers of young researchers.” Professor Day said.