There is such a thing as a free lunch – and great advice to go with it!
What is the ‘micro-mentoring’ scheme?
The micro-mentoring scheme is intended to offer researchers at Manchester a structured opportunity to gain valuable advice from more experienced colleagues, without having to commit to a lengthy mentoring relationship. The latest CROS Survey revealed that while majority of Research Staff would like to be mentored, they also feel that the amount of time that they have to commit to their professional development is limited. Therefore, the scheme has been designed to fit into the busy schedules of both researchers and their potential mentors, and allows mentees the chance to take advice from a range of more experienced colleagues, rather than working with one mentor over an extended period of time.
The scheme is not intended to function as an alternative for other mentoring arrangements offered by schools, faculties or research councils and nor is it intended to be a substitute for proper research supervision or line-management. Rather, the scheme is intended to complement existing provision, and provide researchers with alternative perspectives, sources of advice and encouragement.
How does the scheme work?
The University has a number of lunch vouchers for researchers to invite a potential ‘mentor’ to have lunch with them in order to discuss a particular issue associated with the mentee’s work or career planning. The ‘mentor’ can be anyone that the researcher believes has the relevant expertise to offer advice in a particular area – for instance, a member of academic staff at another University, a member of non-academic staff from Manchester University, a visiting scholar, someone from industry or another sector that the researcher is interested in hearing more about. Lunches may be taken at either Christie’s Bistro or the Mumford Restaurant (Sackville Street).
The fact that mentees are expected to identify and approach their own mentors is an important part of the scheme and is intended to ensure that mentor/mentee matches are as productive as possible.
Potential topics/areas for discussion might include:
- Making a grant application
- Making the move from Research Assistant to PI
- Work/life balance and/or time management
- Managing a research career and planning a family
- Teaching approaches
- The admin (or ‘service’) aspects of an academic role
- Getting published (books or journals)
- Getting the most from your time as a researcher at Manchester
- Whether academia is right for you
For more information about the scheme, how to apply, how to prepare for a mentoring lunch and soem tips for approaching a potential mentor see