The BSI sees mentoring as a professional relationship between an experienced person (the mentor), supporting another individual (the mentee), through a process of developing and enhancing their career and personal growth.
We feel that many early career immunologists would benefit from a two-way relationship where the mentor acts as a sounding board who signposts and shares experiences where relevant.
While many institutes, and a few learned societies, provide mentoring, we think there is an unmet need for mentoring of early career immunologists particularly in terms of having the opportunity to access a mentor from outside your institution.
With that in mind, the BSI is continuing with our mentoring scheme to support professional development amongst the immunology community, fulfilling one of our key aims to support and develop the next generation of world leading immunologists.
We will continue to run our popular mentoring scheme for 2022! Following the success of the mentoring scheme in the last four years, the BSI will continue to run the mentoring scheme for 2022 that provides mentors for early career immunologists, supporting them in making decisions relevant to their career path and providing them with independent support and advice.
Applications for the scheme will open in September 2021. We encourage applications from a range of career stages and different sectors, such as industry and clinical. Keep an eye out for more details coming soon!
The BSI will pair up mentors and mentees from different institutions and sectors based on overlapping needs and expertise. After pairing up, all new mentors and mentees will be required to participate in a mentoring training session before the scheme starts in January 2022. Further details of this training session will be given when confirmation of participation in the scheme is sent. This initial meeting will allow pairs to establish a maximum and minimum number of interactions, the nature in which communications are made and help the pairs define what the future relationship will be. We hope that the mentor/mentee relationships will be maintained for a 12-month period. It is anticipated that most of the subsequent mentoring sessions will be carried out via Skype, Zoom or other video conferencing etc.
The BSI will evaluate the scheme from the opinion of both mentees and mentors throughout the programme.
As a mentor
If you feel that you are in a position to offer insight and advice on issues relating to a career in immunology, we’d like to hear from you. Mentors should be UK-based senior immunologists who have been in a senior post for 5 years or more. We are particularly keen to encourage applications from potential mentors who work in industry or in a clinical setting. We’re looking for BSI members who feel that they could offer help and advice for aspiring immunologists on some of the following matters:
- Career planning and development
- Setting up collaborations
- Working with supervisors and co-workers
- Gaining new skills e.g. leadership, management
- Finding the right work/life balance
- Grant applications
- Writing and publishing scientific papers
As a mentee
The mentoring scheme is open to early career scientists from all sectors working in immunology. We encourage applications from a wide range of career stages - from those in the final year of their PhD (or equivalent qualification/experience) to those who are no more than 12 months into a tenured position (within academia, industry or healthcare). We feel that people currently working between these career stages are the ones who will benefit most from the experience.
As part of the application, you will be asked to provide a statement highlighting the key areas of support you wish to receive as part of the scheme as well as what you hope to achieve from the experience. This statement will also be used to select those who will take part in the scheme if there is an over subscription of applicants.
The BSI Mentoring Scheme has been running for a number of years. Both mentors and mentees have reported back very positively about it. One of the pairs from the 2020 scheme is Professor Ann Ager of Cardiff University and Dr Emily Gwyer-Findlay of the University of Edinburgh. There is also a case study of 2020 mentee Dr Julie Worrell of the University of Glasgow. Take a look at these case studies to give you a further insight into the scheme and what are some of the motivations and reasons for joining it.
If you are interested in being mentored but unable to participate in the BSI scheme, there are other schemes that may be able to support you. Below is a list of some national schemes you may wish to consider getting in touch with:
- Academy of Medical Science Mentoring Programme – for clinical scientists
- Mindtorch – for STEMM undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates
- Royal Society – for Royal Society fellowship holders only