C5 - The mentoring pipeline: institutional perspectives on mentoring as a development tool

Day 2 at 11:00 - The mentoring pipeline: institutional perspectives on mentoring as a development tool
Day Day 2
Session C
Start time 11:00
Strand Postgraduate Research and Research Staff
Code C5

Sam Hopkins - Researcher development officer, University of Surrey

Dr Susan Brooks - Reader in Cell Biology and Research Training Co-ordinator, Oxford Brookes University

Kay Pearson - Researcher Development Officer, University of Surrey

Workshop overview:

Mentoring is often touted as a tool for career progression and widening participation within academia and, done well, can be. The challenge is to create a programme that is useful for all parties meeting the needs of participants and the institution. In this workshop we will look at how two institutions use mentoring as a tool for development.

The research staff mentoring scheme at Oxford Brookes University is now entering its third year.  It is open to all research active staff from early career researchers to professors. Here, we will present the nuts and bolts of how the scheme operates and discuss its benefits, to participants and the Institution, and logistical considerations in its organisation and implementation. 

With four mentoring programmes at Surrey feeding into one another we really do have a mentoring pipeline. The outcomes, benefits and pitfalls for both mentor and mentee will be discussed for each cohort along with institutional benefits and practical considerations. 

Workshop topics covered:

  • Benefits of mentoring to the mentor when there are no tangible outputs
  • Widening participation in postgraduate research using PGRs for cultural capital
  • Offering support to research staff in transitions into permanent roles and to promotion using role models as mentors
  • The part that employer mentoring plays for postgraduate researchers
  • Practical considerations for providing transition support
  • Benefits of mentoring to the mentee
  • How universities can provide support for researchers throughout their career
  • Successfully collaborating with other departments in the University
  • Taking care of researchers on their journey through research

Themes covered:

  • New approaches to enabling researchers to reach their potential and make powerful career choices
  • Developing a pipeline of research talent, including widening participation issues and the strategies to attract the best candidates into research degrees
  • Researchers' development across boundaries: learning from international collaborations, exploring inter-cultural competences and business/industry collaborations in developing researchers

Workshop outcomes:

  • Have discussed the role of mentoring at their institution including widening participation at all levels
  • Have contributed to the discussion on the benefits of mentoring from their institutions perspective
  • Have considered the practical implications of setting up and running a scheme
  • Have identified the key transitional periods during a researcher's career where mentoring may be beneficial
  • Made connections with members at other institutions who are working on mentoring projects for collaboration and support 


Discussion and contribution of what institutions are currently doing and the pros and cons of each approach with the opportunity to create a network of people all working on mentoring projects across institutions.