High-quality mentorship is important in both encouraging vets to enter research and in supporting them to maximise their career opportunities once this journey has started. Numerous scientific organisations offer mentorship programmes, with the Academy of Medical Sciences’ programme being particularly well established within the sector. Until recently, however, there was no dedicated mentorship programme for veterinary researchers. The Veterinary Schools Council (VSC) Research Mentoring Scheme was established to fill that need, and since its launch in 2019 it has created a list of signed-up mentors ready to be linked with mentees.
Open to all
The scheme works by connecting mentees with at least two experienced mentors who will be able to offer support on career development issues. For both mentees and mentors the scheme is open to all, regardless of their current job role and sector, including practice, academia, industry, government and charitable organisations. Experience in clinical and non-clinical research is equally welcome. Non-veterinarian researchers who have a good awareness of the challenges facing and opportunities open to veterinary graduates are particularly encouraged to engage with the mentorship scheme. Mentees and mentors will be matched by hand and introduced by email. The extent, frequency and length of the interaction is decided jointly by the mentee and mentor.
Becoming a mentee will be of value to veterinarians at all career stages, but it is anticipated that it will be of particular benefit to recent graduates thinking about embarking on a research career. Previous mentees have ranged from early career veterinarians considering undertaking a PhD, to postdoctoral veterinary researchers contemplating postdoctoral appointments, fellowships or tenured positions in academia or industry. To ensure that mentees receive an outside perspective on their circumstances, they will be matched with mentors from different organisations.
Applications are particularly welcomed from disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates, as these groups are currently under-represented in veterinary research teams. Applications from people who identify as LGBTQ+ are also encouraged.
The scheme is free of charge to participate in. For more information, and to apply as either mentor or mentee, see the VSC’s Research Mentoring Scheme.