Research Mentoring

In 2017/18 research mentoring for research staff will be introduced in each College to support staff with their career development, research and funding. The Research Mentoring Policy and Guidelines outline the principles and responsibilities within the scheme. Each College will develop their own approach to mentoring that will best suit the needs of their staff.

Research staff may feel that they would benefit from some coaching sessions to address personal skills development as in addition to the mentoring process. Please see Coaching and Mentoring for Staff for further details of what’s available.

Bangor University is committed to developing its research staff at every stage of their career. For further details about the courses and programmes for researchers please see the Researcher Development pages.

For further guidance please see the Research Mentoring Policy and guidance notes, however, listed below are some key questions and answers.

What are the key principles of the scheme?

  • Everyone is entitled and expected to participate in a mentoring scheme; however participation is voluntary.
  • Mentoring is about career development and therefore should be available to all staff, not just permanent members of academic staff.
  • Everyone can choose the type of mentoring/mentor they need, if not the mentor.
  • Mentoring is not the same as, or a substitute for, Performance Development Review.
  • Mentoring can be different in different Schools and Colleges, the only universal rule is that it must be available and have integrity.
  • Adequate time should be made available for the sessions during the working day.
  • The existence of a mentoring relationship is not confidential unless requested with the mentee. Also, the the mentoring discussions will not be discussed with any third party unless agreed. However, a general outline of the discussions can be shared by the mentor (following a request by the mentee) in the mentees Performance Development Review.
  • A degree of formality is essential; i.e. a minimum number of meetings recorded in a year, but formal written records are not a requirement.

Who takes responsibility for various aspects of the mentoring relationship?

a) Mentor

The mentor’s main focus is on the professional and career development of their mentee and the mentor should:

  • Ensure that the mentee is aware of the research and teaching objectives within the School/Research Institute and University.
  • Act as a sounding board and provide alternative perspectives.
  • Share expertise and individual learning.
  • Interpret and discuss any feedback given to the mentee.
  • Critiquing and commenting on grant proposals.

Mentors can help inform the developmental aspects, however they should not normally be involved in contributing feedback on performance or formally addressing performance issues.

b) Mentee

The mentee must be committed to the process and be clear about the purpose and aims of the relationship. The role of the mentee can vary depending on the context and purpose of the mentoring but will, in principle, include:

  • Taking responsibility for identifying and achieving their own goals.
  • Managing meetings and discussing the objectives for discussions within the relationship.
  • Share feedback with the mentor about how the relationship is progressing in order to improve the outcomes they are achieving from mentoring meetings.

c) Line Manager

The mentor/mentee discussions take place outside the line management relationship and they should be handled in confidence to enable the appropriate level of trust and support. With the development of the electronic PDR system there will be a section on the form for the mentor to include very briefly the range of discussions that have been held. This is optional by the mentee as they may wish to keep discussions confidential.

The line manager is responsible for managing the mentee on a daily basis and is responsible for; setting objectives; monitoring performance and providing feedback. The line manager is also responsible for reviewing progress to achieve any agreed objectives and their professional development plan.

The line manager should remain open to any ideas from the mentor that will assist in the continued development of the mentee.

What can you expect from the scheme?

It is expected that mentors will meet their mentees at least twice within a twelve month period. For new and early career researchers it is expected that there will be between 4–6 meetings within a twelve month period. In terms of other forms of group based mentoring the frequency of the meetings and the length of the commitment to the group will be decided by the contributors to the group.

It is essential that at the beginning of the mentoring relationship both partners are clear about what they expect from the mentoring and each other in terms of guidance and frequency of meetings.

It is strongly advised that mentors and mentees attend a short workshop to ensure that both mentees and mentors are clear about how best to contribute to the process. Information about these workshops can be found on the Researcher Development web site.