Vitae Peer Mentoring Circles Steering Group: Terms of Reference

Vitae logo

To express your interest to join the Vitae Peer Mentoring Circles Steering Group please complete the form. The deadline to complete the form and express your interest is Thursday 4 July 2024.


This steering group has been established to support the development and implementation of a pilot for Vitae Peer Mentoring Circles - a new community benefit which will support researcher developers through action learning sets.


This concept and the needs identified have been developed by members of the Vitae community to convert the inherent diversity of researcher development roles from a challenge into a strength. This scheme will pilot inter-institutional Peer Mentoring Circles built on the framework of action learning sets, for researcher developers at any stage of their career. This group-based approach aims to facilitate sharing of knowledge and good practice, and the creation of small, accessible professional networks for researcher developers.


  • To create small, accessible professional networks for researcher developers
  • To provide a safe space for sharing experiences and challenges
  • To facilitate problem-solving through supportive peer groups
  • To enable sharing of knowledge and practice across organisations
  • To build strength through diversity by being inclusive of all career stages, roles (within the development of researchers) and institution types


  • Action plan for implementing a pilot of Vitae Peer Mentoring Circles
  • Action learning sets training plan for participants in the programme
  • A plan for engaging the researcher development community with this scheme
  • Evaluation criteria and process to measure the success of the pilot

Vitae would like to launch this scheme at the Vitae International Researcher Development Conference in September 2024 for most impact.

Roles and responsibilities

Steering Group role
The Steering Group will:

  • Provide expertise and a strategic view on the development of the pilot for Vitae Peer Mentoring Circles for Researcher Developers.
  • Co-create deliverables for the pilot as described above.
  • Ensure that Vitae Peer Mentoring Circles meet the needs of a range of researcher developers.
  • Take an inclusive approach to project design, using an EDI planning tool such as the EDI cube (to be agreed by the Steering Group in the first meeting)
  • Be an ambassador for Vitae Peer Mentoring Circles.
  • Evaluate the success of the scheme and make recommendations for future development

Vitae role
Vitae will support the Steering Group by:

  • Providing expertise and a strategic view on the development of the pilot
  • Providing administrative support for the Steering Group
  • Supporting co-creation and collaboration using tools and expertise
  • Stewarding the pilot process
  • Using established Vitae networks to promote Vitae Peer Mentoring Circles
  • Sharing learnings and practice gained from the scheme at Vitae events, such as the Vitae International Researcher Development Conference
  • Vitae will take responsibility for all data protection, processing and privacy agreements with the Steering Group and participants of the Peer Mentoring Circles.


The scheme will be open to all Vitae member organisations, of which there are over 160 in the UK.

The audience will be anyone who considers themselves a researcher developer within the member organisation.


First Steering Group meeting Wednesday 10 July 09:30-11:00 2024
Steering Group will work on the deliverables ready for launch beginning of September Summer 2024
Launch of Peer Mentoring Circles September 2024
Initial training takes place October 2024
Peer Mentoring Circle calls take place (3 ideally for each circle) October 2024-March 2025
The pilot will cumulate in an evaluation process Spring 2025


The Steering Group will be formed of representatives from the Vitae member community and will be co-chaired by Heather Mackenzie and Rosie Wadman.

They will be drawn from a range of institutions as is representative of Vitae membership.

The Steering Group members will have a range of expertise, including different career stages, backgrounds and institution types.

The Steering Group will be inclusive and welcoming of diverse perspectives, specifically seeking additional input where expertise are not held within the group.

Proactive efforts will be made by Vitae to ensure the aims above are met.


  • The Steering Group will be co-chaired by Heather Mackenzie and Rosie Wadman from University of Southampton.
  • The Vitae Membership and Events Manager will be the groups’ key contact, supported by the Head of Membership and Engagement. 
  • Vitae will organise Steering Group meetings and provide a platform for the meetings to take place, and keep notes for Steering Group meetings.
  • There will be up to 2 meetings prior to the launch in September, held online, the first one being Wednesday 10 July 09:30-11:00 2024 with a subsequent 2 before the end of 2024. Future meetings will be arranged as need arises.
  • Members are expected to be able to commit to attending these meetings, but Vitae will facilitate participation for those who are not able to join.

The group will be inclusive but may not be able to be representative of the whole Vitae member community.