The BSI sees mentoring as a professional relationship where an experienced person (the mentor) supports 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 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 having the opportunity to access a mentor from outside your institution.
With that in mind, the BSI is continuing 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.
Following the success of the mentoring scheme in the last few years, the BSI will run the scheme for 2023 to provide mentors for early career immunologists, supporting them in making decisions relevant to their career path and providing them with independent support and advice.
The next round of applications for the 2024 scheme will close on Monday 9 October 2023 at 23:59 BST.
We encourage applications from a range of career stages and different sectors, such as industry and clinical settings.
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 an online mentoring training session. 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. These training session will be led by Alexis Hutson, coaching and mentoring expert and will take place on:
- Tuesday 12 December at 10:00 - 12:00 GMT
- Thursday 14 December at 14:00 - 16:00 GMT
We hope that the mentor/mentee relationships will be maintained for a 12-month period. It is anticipated that most of the mentoring sessions will be carried out remotely via video conferencing, telephone or email.
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
- Changing your sector of work
- 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 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 and both mentors and mentees have reported back very positively about it. One of the pairs from the 2020 scheme was Professor Ann Ager of Cardiff University and Dr Emily Gwyer-Findlay of the University of Edinburgh. There is also a case study of 2020, the mentee Dr Julie Worrell of the University of Glasgow and, from the 2021 scheme, the mentee Dr Ryan Thwaites from Imperial College London and Prof Gary Entrican, mentor from the University of Edinburgh and also from the 2023 scheme, the mentee Dr Muhammed Yuksel from the University of Westminster. Take a look at these case studies to give you further insight into the scheme and some of the motivations 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:
Diversity data collection
As one of the commitments in our Diversity and Inclusion Framework, the BSI is collecting diversity data on our membership, with a particular focus on how we are faring on diversity in key activities such as this scheme. As part of this work, we are asking all Mentoring Scheme applicants to fill out the “Equality and Diversity” section of their membership record on the online BSI membership database. This is not compulsory part of the application process, but it will help us improve our activities if you can complete this information.
How we will use and protect the data:
The BSI is collecting this data from our scheme applicants to help us better understand diversity across our community and who is currently participating in/benefitting from the Society, and our products, services, and opportunities – and who is under-represented. A summary of the data collected, will be reported collectively in the BSI’s annual Diversity and Inclusion report, part of our promise to you, our membership, on being open and honest about our progress on diversity.
All information provided via the membership portal will be treated as strictly confidential in accordance the BSI’s Privacy & Security Policy in line with The Data Protection Act 2018. The information gathered will be stored separately to other personal details and will be held in a way that means it is not identifiable to any individual at any stage. The data will be used for statistical purposes only with access to this restricted to staff involved in processing and monitoring the data. It will not be seen by anyone involved in any selection processes. No information will be published or used in any way that allows individuals to be identified.
You do not have to provide this data as part of your Mentoring Scheme application, but it will help us improve our activities if you can complete as much as possible. If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.
How to fill out the “Equality and Diversity” section of your membership profile
1. Go to the BSI homepage (www.immunology.org) and click the “Login” button in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
2. Enter your email and password and click “Log in” – you should all have an online account to give you access to the membership section. If you think you don’t have an account, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Click on the option “Equality and Diversity” in the right-hand menu bar and complete the questions.