ISTA Postdoc Alumni Mentoring Program

Aims & benefits

This program is to provide career guidance to postdoctoral researchers at ISTA, and it has at its core the aim to prepare our postdocs to launch their next career step(s) with the utmost awareness, knowledge and planning in order to undertake any path that would fulfil their lifelong ambitions, no matter how arduous or far-reaching they might appear.

Through match making professionals carrying an insight into the ISTA experience and precise expertise in their own field with postdocs hungry for practical advice, our mission is to facilitate a platform for lifelong exchange of learning opportunities that would ultimately inspire the mentees to give back and become mentors themselves in the future. The best mentors still have mentors because they know they have to keep learning.

The aim is also to provide current postdocs with the opportunity to engage with postdoc Alumni embarked on different career tracks – whether it’s in academia, industry, or both but also in entrepreneurship, science writing & communication etc.

Guidelines for Mentors

Mentoring aims to promote the following aspects concerning the Mentor:

  • Development of mentoring, coaching and interaction skills
  • Connections with postdocs in the field
  • Connection with the ISTA
  • Development and expansion of the professional network
  • Exchange of ideas
  • Appraisal of their own past achievements, current status and future plans
  • Stimulation of critical discourse regarding mentorship

What we expect Mentors to do:

  • Spend one-on-one time with the mentee, at least twice but no more than six times per year
  • Set targets and agree on practical matters with the mentee
  • Support the development of the postdoc’s working life skills, as a mentor
  • Share their knowledge, experience, mistakes, tips, and stories
  • Further correspondence/meeting following end of employment at ISTA and start of professional career

What we expect Mentors NOT to do:

• Not engage in advising postdocs on their current research project

Guidelines for Mentees

Mentoring aims to promote the following aspects concerning the Mentee:

  • Career-development plans and steps
  • Evaluation of career plans and prospects
  • Feedback on CV and job cover letters
  • Advice on career transitions both within and outside academia
  • Guidance on how best to invest time and effort

What we expect Mentees to do:

  • To initiate contact and arrange meetings with your mentor
  • To approach your mentor with specific questions and objectives in mind
  • To identify areas that you need mentoring for
  • To perform a self-assessment prior to meeting the mentor, and to discuss the outcomes with the mentor

What we expect Mentees NOT to do:

  • Discuss personal problems that do not directly relate to career development
  • Discuss personal and professional problems with the PI
  • Discuss administrative problems and complaints
  • Request mentoring on any of the topics not meant for mentor-mentee meetings


Checks and evaluation

PDO endeavors to monitor the performance of the program by:

  • Maintaining correspondence with both parties (email once or twice a year
  • Checking the aims are clear and both parties have adhered to the requirements
  • Reminding mentees to fill out the ISTA self assessment plan
  • Requesting feedback on the program from both parties at the end of postdoc contract
  • Establishing a communication channel for any issues related to the program