A central task of the GSCN is forming the next generation of young academics in stem cell research by supporting them to make educated career decisions, enabling them to actively manage their careers. The GSCN Mentoring Program is a new project of the GSCN working group “Career Development”. The aim of the program is to support young scientists up to the level of young group leaders in their search for a career path that fits the personal visions, abilities and needs. During our careers in science, we often stand at crossroads, having to take tough decisions. This one-year-mentoring-program offers a one-of-a-kind chance to obtain orientation and guidance during the decision making process by established stem cell researchers in Germany and experts working outside academia in related fields such as industry, communication, or science management.
The mentee will benefit from the possibility of a secure, discreet, and trustworthy liaison to an experienced mentor for seeking advice regarding career options inside and outside academia as well as more specific, challenging situations such as job negotiations, grant writing, editors, or work-life balance. This is a unique oportunity for young scientists to use the network and mentors to find answers, develop new ideas and take advantage of the knowledge, experience, and visions of established colleagues. The mentees also form a network and support each other during the mentoring phase and possibly afterwards as a base for a personal and career peer-network. Considering the fact that women are still underrepresented in leading positions in the fields of academic life sciences, > 50 % of places in the GSCN Mentoring Programm are reserved for women.
Each year a committee of the GSCN will choose 5 candidates judged by their written applications. Mentees will select a mentor from a provided GSCN list or propose a new mentor within the GSCN network themselves. The starting point of each program is the annual GSCN Conference, where all mentees will meet and have a special session on goals, methods, and formulating their personal learning goals and objectives they want to fulfill in the coming year. The mentor-mentee-team will also meet for the first time in person (if possible) in an organized setup and both sides will sign a contract, in which they agree upon a secure, discreet, and trustworthy relationship. The mentee and the mentor will agree upon 3 – 5 meetings over the course of 1 year (in person, via telephone or video) and discuss questions and topics prepared by the mentee.
The GSCN organizes a semi-annual meeting of the mentees to network and discuss experiences and support options. The program ends at the following annual GSCN Conference with a closing meeting with the mentees.