Mentoring for postdoctoral researchers

Since 2009, Ghent University has an in-house mentoring program for postdocs to support them in reflecting on and developing their career. There are two tracks to choose from:

  • A Ghent University mentor: if you want to gain insight and advice in building an academic career.  These mentors are professorial staff members at Ghent University with a minimum of 5 years experience. This mentor can have a strong academic focus and/or intersectoral focus (e.g. through networks with industry, government, non-government)
  • A non-academic mentor: An alumni PhD holder who build a career outside academia: if you want to explore careers beyond academia. The mentors come from an array of sectors including private and not-for-profit sectors, government and non-governmental organizations, public policy, industry, etc. They are former (post)doctoral researchers who have become successful leaders in diverse fields.

Presentation infosession

  • Concept, goals an guidelines are summarised in this presentation.

Mentoring: what can you expect?

"Mentoring is an interpersonal activity to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be" (Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring)

The aim of mentoring is to assist you in preparing and planning your future career options in or beyond academia.

Your mentor will serve as a sounding board for all career-related questions: 

  • Development approach: encourage people to think more carefully about their personal ambitions and professional goals
  • Person-centered: one-on-one supportive relationship
  • Confidential: based on mutual trust (all information shared is kept confidential) and respect
  • Mentee-driven: the mentee takes the initiative and sets the agenda

Who can enroll?

  • Postdoctoral researchers with solid career ambitions from all faculties and disciplines.
  • The maximum number of mentees admitted to the programis 60 persons.
  • Priority will be given to those clearly explaining their reasons for participating in their motivation statement and to postdoctoral researchers reaching the end of their employment.

Who are the mentors

A mentor is a guide and advisor fully committed to helping a mentee find solutions to different career challenges. Precisely because they have wide professional experience, mentors have an outstanding ability to empathize with the concerns facing today’s postdoctoral researchers.

    • A positive role model, enthusiastic, empathic, good listener
    • A mentor inspires and empowers the mentee to reach his/her full potential
    • A Ghent University mentor has no hierarchical relation with the mentee (different faculty than mentee's, but relevant research field of profile)

    7 tips on mentoring

    Read our tips on the role of the mentor, do’s and don’ts and on how to organize meetings:

    Tips on mentoring [NL] [ENG]

    Interesting reading



    Some Testimonials

    • “I understood better the different ways I can combine work and life. I also got more confidence in applying for jobs and performing at interviews.”
    • “I am extremely satisfied with the match and enjoyed each and every contact with my mentor. In fact, we are still in contact.”
    • “The mentoring program was part of a process to jump to the industry. And it helped as I signed a contract with a company recently”
    • “It was such a positive experience to be part of this mentorship program […] my mentor has been a strong support system for me in the last year. She was the mentor I really needed in my life.
    • “Ik ben zelf destijds zeer goed begeleid in mijn onderzoeksgroep en wil dat nu ook kunnen doen voor anderen”
    • “Ik doe dit nu voor het derde jaar op rij en blijf het een waardevol project vinden. Ik vind het zinvol en bijzonder aangenaam om jonge mensen te coachen en ervaringen over te brengen en te helpen waar ik kan”
    • “Ik had zelf te weinig begeleiding gekregen en wou het voor de volgende generatie beter doen”
    • “Great to be able to transmit experience and exchange ideas and concepts with promising, aspiring academics. Always a pleasure to converse with the mentees, and it is motivating to motivate someone else”
    • “To guide others in the written, but often unwritten rules of academic life as a professor. And to listen to and give some advice on their career decisions and situations”