Yvonne Svanström Henrik Cederquist, Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre
Yvonne Svanström, Henrik Cederquist och Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre, Deputy Vice Presidents. Photo: Ingmarie Andersson, Niklas Björling, Anna-Karin Landin.

For some years now, both academic areas at the university have had mentoring programmes for junior researchers. The purpose of these programmes is to have an opportunity to discuss general issues concerning academic life, questions that are not primarily subject-specific but rather centre around what choices there may be and how different challenges might be addressed. Mentors and mentees are matched, and in the human science academic area, the mentees meet senior lecturers and professors from other subjects and sometimes other faculties. The mentors have experience of having struggled with the same or similar issues themselves during their early careers and can often contribute experience and knowledge from both Swedish and foreign universities. The programme has proven to be enriching for both groups of participants; the fact that the participants in the mentor-mentee pair do not come from the same department gives them an understanding of how the activities and traditions of their own subject are not necessarily the same in other subjects. A number of participants describe how the mentorship is enriching – for both mentors and mentees. We hope that by the autumn we will receive more applications, not least from male employees, so that the programme will better reflect the make up of staff in the human science academic area.

In the science academic area, a mentoring programme for assistant lecturers and Wallenberg Academy Fellows has been running for more than five years. In the programme, joint start-up meetings are arranged and the young researchers are then assigned a mentor – a senior teacher and researcher who gives advice and shares their experience. So far, over fifty young researchers have completed the programme. In addition to the mentoring programme, the associate senior lecturers who have six-year appointments are offered voluntary part-time counselling. Finally, we would like to mention that the Chemistry Section has started a mentoring programme aimed at female doctoral students and postdocs. Within these younger categories, the gender distribution is even, which is not the case further up the academic career ladder. The purpose of the programme is to spark interest among young female researchers while preparing them for a continued academic career.

Although the mentoring programmes are designed differently in the two areas, the goal is the same: to support younger researchers as they develop and grow into the role of independent teachers and researchers.

This is a text written by the Deputy Vice Presidents Henrik Cederquist, Yvonne Svanström, Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre. It appears in the section “Words from the University’s senior management team”, where different members of the management team take turns to write about topical issues. Words from the University’s senior management team appears in every edition of News for staff which is distributed to the entirety of the University staff.