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UHI Mentoring Scheme

Overview of process

Overview of the UHI mentoring Process

Mentoring is recognised as an effective way of supporting career development of individuals. In an informal, one-to-one relationship, an experienced staff member is able to offer support and coaching to a less experienced person and to respond to the needs of the individual with respect to their professional and personal development. In the context of research, many universities now operate mentoring schemes and a variety of benefits are reported.

mentoring steps.jpg

The university Mentoring Scheme is now closed for the 15/16 session, the scheme will re-open for new applicants in July 2016. Please read through the pages in this section and if you would like to participate there is a link to the registration system on the final tab.

Download the UHI Mentoring Scheme Handbook (pdf)

Faigh an Sgeama Taic-iùil Airson Rannsachaidh Leabhar-iùil (pdf)

What is mentoring?

What is research mentoring?

Mentoring is usually undertaken by a more senior, experienced member of staff in the subject discipline (or related area) of the mentee. Schemes are often part of a wider system of research staff support in an institution. Initial promotion and workshops would usually be offered to encourage engagement. The mentoring arrangement / relationship is established on a formal basis and can be an open ended or time bound arrangement. The usual arrangement for mentoring meetings is that they are informal, allowing for a mentor mentee relationship to be established. The discussions would work towards achieving objectives identified by the mentee. The process is driven by the mentee but requires engagement from both parties in order to be successful.

Key aspects of the mentoring arrangement:

  • One to one supportive relationship
  • Focused on the academic development of an individual
  • It is aimed at facilitating career progression and professional development
  • Is not part of reporting or line management structures
  • It is non-judgemental
  • It is confidential

Overall, mentoring contributes towards a culture of support in the research environment with specific benefits for different groups. Joining the scheme gives a number of benefits for all involved.

The process should be driven by the mentee and should be flexible to respond to the specific needs and objectives of the individual, as defined in the application.

The process is time bound and should end at twelve months, at which point the mentor and mentee will review and evaluate the process and whether objectives have been met. If mentee and mentor decided further mentoring would be beneficial, they would be free to enter a new cycle after setting new objectives.

It is recommended that the time commitment to the mentoring should be within 1-2 hours per month, but is flexible at the discretion of the mentor / mentee. Initial meeting are recommended to be face-to-face, particularly if the mentoring pair do not know each other, but there after can be arranged to suit both by agreement e.g. using Video Conferencing.

Mentoring meetings should be confidential, with disclosure of matters discussed only being revealed more widely with the agreement of both mentor and mentee. For the purposes of monitoring and evaluation, only generic questions would be asked about how the mentoring process had worked and met set objectives.

Who is it for?

The scheme would aim to support UHI’s diverse staff profile with varied research backgrounds, the table below explains how we are attempting to target three key mentee groups:

  • Early Career Researchers (ECRs)
  • Staff aspiring to / or returning to research
  • HE Lecturing staff.


Note: It is anticipated that the scheme will be developed in a way that will be suitable for colleagues who are interested in developing scholarship.

Benefits of the scheme

Benefits for the mentee

  • Support for career and professional development
  • Helps with setting and achieving academic (and possibly future career) goals
  • Encouragement and increased confidence, particularly for aspiring and early career researchers
  • Enhanced networking across the university and potentially with other HEIs (if cross-intuitional schemes are created)
  • Helps individuals to find solutions to challenges
  • Improves understanding of research operation in the individual institutional setting and across the university partnership

Benefits for the mentor

  • Development of interpersonal and communication skills
  • Development of coaching, support skills and experience
  • Opportunity to reflect on one’s own practice
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Builds leadership skills
  • Supports engagement and development of a research culture across the university

Benefits for UHI

  • Develops a supportive research environment and culture
  • Enhances research performance and research excellence
  • Enhances the research reputation of staff
  • Increased commitment to the university
  • Highlights areas for future staff development
  • Support UHI’s REF submission and pathway to RDAP
  • To work towards the university’s strategic objectives


Mentoring benefits table

Contact or apply

The mentoring scheme has now closed for the 15/16 session. The scheme will re-open for new applicants in July 2016. 

The previous tabs within this section are intended to give a good overall idea of how the UHI mentoring scheme works. It is currently voluntary and should be widely accessible across UHI to a diverse group of people ensuring equality and diversity of access.

Please contact Melanie Smith if you have questions or need more information:


Telephone - 01463 273080

The scheme is administered by Melanie through an application called SUMAC which was originally developed by St Andrews University for their own use but has now been developed for use by subscribers.  The application allows us to set up and run various versions of mentoring schemes, gives mentors and mentees a central place to communicate and the information collected during the registration process allows for initial mentee/mentor matching which is then refined and partnerships are developed.  The below link will take you to the UHI section of the SUMAC system to register your interest - all information is strictly limited within UHI for the purposes of making mentoring partnerships.

If you are interested in registering for the scheme please complete the online application:

Link to online application form – Mentor or Mentee (link suspended until 2016/17 scheme is under way)

Note: if you would like to be both a mentor and a mentee please complete and submit the application form twice – firstly as a mentor and then as a mentee. Thankyou.

Post matching - Mentoring agreement

At the start of any mentoring relationship it is essential that both partners are clear about and agree upon what they expect from each other. The Mentoring Agreement Form is your template to establish this.