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Mentor Program

New mentor program aims to support young researchers

In order to promote well-being and professional development among junior researchers, the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) will initiate a mentorship program in the autumn of 2024. This program is specifically tailored for PhD students, postdocs, and assistant professors.

By Nana Olejank Hansen, , 2/20/2024

Being a young aspiring researcher can be challenging and isolating. For many, having a support system can make a significant difference. Therefore, HEALTH (Faculty of Health Sciences) has developed a mentorship programme tailored to provide young researchers with opportunities to address well-being, career development, gender equality, diversity, inclusion, and organisational challenges.

- We aim to be a faculty that prioritises the career development and well-being of individuals as researchers. We connect young researchers with more experienced peers, establishing smaller, confidential networks that can be sustained throughout their research education and careers, says Dean Ole Skøtt.

The mentor program embraces several focal points, including the individual career development of younger researchers, the mentor's personal growth through mentoring, and the advancement of the organization.

Once a year, SDU's Gender Equality Team and the administrative coordinator provide reports on the progress to the Gender Equlity Council at the Faculty of Health Sciences, which serves as a follow-up group. This includes presenting the program's development, as well as the feedback and input to the organisation from the participants. The faculty thus commits to taking action based on the feedback received.

Already tested with great success

The mentorship program was subjected to a pilot project at the Department of Regional Health Research from 2022 to 2023, where it was successfully tested. It is this mentor program that is now being expanded to the entire Faculty of Health Sciences.

An aspect that stood out positively after the pilot project was the opportunity it provided for career clarification and mentorship. Participants expressed the view that it would be advantageous to have the mentorship program available earlier, and this feedback has been considered in the implementation of the new program.

PhD students will be offered the program as part of their induction into the PhD school, while postdocs and assistant professors will be selected via communication with the head of department.

Younger researchers were delighted to participate in the program, while more experienced researchers departed with insights both professionally and personally. As leaders, we also gained valuable insights into how we can best support young researchers, says Rikke Leth-Larsen, the head of department at Department of Regional Health Research.

If you are curious about the new mentorship program, you can find more information on the Mentoring for Change page.

Editing was completed: 20.02.2024