Each doctoral program has a pool of professors and MERs who are willing to serve as mentors.
Mentors offer advice and support to PhD Students in the context of their training. As part of the annual report, mentors meet with the PhD Students to discuss the progress of their work and their well-being in the laboratory at least once a year. They are the first person of reference for the PhD Students any time in case of problems with the thesis director or the laboratory.
Mentors provide feedback to the program director only with the agreement of the PhD Student. The program director takes the necessary measures in case of reported issues.
The role of the mentor is to provide confidential advice from an independent/different angle to the PhD student on how best to progress in the PhD studies. The mentor and mentee meet once a year or more often if the PhD student/mentor so desires and agrees upon and discuss the annual report/evaluation.
The following topics could be discussed between mentor and mentee:
- advancing as a researcher (what has gone well, less well, how to improve, goal setting, which resources are needed, …)
- facets of career-building (contributions to the community, conferences, awards, networking opportunities, participating in possible soft skill courses on writing, communicating, managing, spin-off training, …)
- work-life balance
- communication (within the laboratory, with the thesis director and other lab members, matching expectations in terms of progress and future goals, …)
- life after the PhD (what kind of career options are there and how to explore them, …)
Within 3 months after enrolment, the doctoral program assigns a mentor from its pool to each doctoral candidate. You can change your mentor in consultation with the program director.
The mentor remains anonymous with respect to the thesis director. It is your decision if you would like to keep this anonymity or not.
Your mentor is a valuable resource and is available to discuss your academic progress and provide guidance. Please feel free to contact your mentor whenever you deem necessary.