Mentoring Program for Scientists

Marine Biological Laboratory
Policy No. K.1.9
CASO office
Marine Biological Laboratory

Initiated by: Chief Academic and Scientific Officer
Approved by: MBL Director/CEO
Date: June 7, 2010
Distribution: Center and Program Directors, Scientific Staff, Center and Program Administrators
1.0 Policy Statement:
The MBL recognizes that career development is a vital element of scientific excellence and critical to the professional development of new scientists and to the well-being of the Laboratory. In order to ensure that the Laboratory makes its best efforts to foster this development, the MBL strongly supports a mentoring program. The purpose of this program is to provide advice, guidance, and feedback to all scientists starting their career and to all scientists new to the MBL.

2.0 Mentoring encompasses the proffering of information, advice, support, encouragement, honest feedback, problem-solving, referrals, networking opportunities, and advocacy.

3.0 Different kinds of mentoring may be needed as the individual advances through their career. Particular attention needs to be given to scientists with perceived language barriers, scientists of color, and scientists who may be working to balance the needs of a young family or aging parents.

3.1 Postdoctoral Scientists – need mentoring to assist in successfully launching their scientific career. This is most appropriately done by their sponsor.

3.2 Assistant/Associate Scientists – need mentoring to assist in establishing their career and making satisfactory progress toward establishing a laboratory, achieving solid standing in the broader scientific community and preparing for promotion.

3.3 All senior scientists new to the MBL benefit from mentoring as they move from their previously familiar surroundings to the MBL. Quick assimilation into the MBL and Woods Hole scientific community can ease the transition. The Center/Program Director most effectively provides this mentoring.

4.0 Assistant/Associate Scientists will benefit from a more formal mentoring program.

4.1 A committee of two scientists should be formed, in consultation between the Center/Program Director and the Assistant/Associate Scientist. At least one of the committee members must share the same or similar research interests with the mentee.

4.2 This committee should meet formally with the mentee no less than twice a year but shall also be available on an ad hoc basis. Meetings may be with both advisors as a group or individually, as desired.

5.0 General discussion items should include at least the following:

  • Details of the promotion and performance review and discussion of the mentee’s current progress toward promotion, and CV development
  • Setting of goals annually in terms of research, publications, grants, national meeting presentations, and other activities
  • The role of the Science Council concerning promotion
  • How to manage a lab including personnel and budget management
  • Grant writing and strategies, and overall funding strategies
  • How to develop “envelop pushing” research experiments
  • Collegiality, collaborations, independence, and authorship issues
  • How to interact with the Brown-MBL Partnership
  • How to work with the Center/Program administrative staff, and with the Laboratory’s administrative and operational infrastructure, including core MBL services
  • Understanding of and adherence to the Laboratory’s policies, including ethical code of conduct and conflict of interest policy and invention disclosure and patenting procedures.

6.0 At the time of annual review, the mentee and his/her Center/Program Director shall establish written goals in terms of research, publications and grants. Upon annual review, the prior year’s goals shall be evaluated against actual performance in a written review which shall be forwarded to the office of the Chief Academic and Scientific Officer and the Director of Human Resources.

7.0 Policy Clarification and Updates:
Policy clarification and updates are available office of the Chief Academic and Scientific Officer.