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The RIS4CAREERS pilot support programme of CIVIS universities aims to support the reflexion on career development of researchers by providing access to training resources and in and out of academia mentorship support. This international 6-months program will mainly focus on offering new perspectives on market insertion, entrepreneurship, communication and skills for third/fourth year PhD candidates and early post-docs.


October 2022: Kick-off Workshop

Kick-off workshop to determine the location and goals of the mentees and how to look for a mentor

October-December 2022: Contact Mentors

Mentees will be in charge of independently contacting mentors

January 2023- June 2023

Active Mentoring phase and training

End of March

Midterm meeting (depending on the university)

End of June 2023

Final meeting and end of the pilot phase

Remember: Each university has an appointed contact person with whom you can discuss any aspect of the program.

The RIS4CAREERS development program is designed to enhance researchers’ proactivity and freedom. In fact, participants will choose and approach mentors, and personalize their training path according to their career objectives, strengths and practical needs. For that kind of reflection, a self-assessment questionnaire will be made available to mentees before the start of the program.

The RIS4CAREERS team will provide further support through the following material:

  • Recommendations on how to choose a mentor and how to address the mentor-mentee relation
  • A potential out-of-academia mentors data base
  • A list of research institutes and groups of CIVIS universities

Remember: Mentees have the opportunity to choose one or two mentors with different profiles depending on their goals, can search outside CIVIS or stay with a particular mentor if they already have it.

Mentoring is defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) offers their support and share their ex­pertise with a less experienced person (the mentee). The mentee takes the lead in the relationship and designates the issues about which they would like to discuss (e.g.: strategic issues/choices, career development, combi­nation of the 3 missions, work-life ba­lance, organisation culture, time management, conflict management, visibility and networking…).

Mentors serve as sources of advice, information, encouragement, and support. Mentors can be the first link to building a network with other scientists; therefore, when looking for a mentor:

  1. Know your goals. Fill the self-assessment questionnaire that you have at your disposition through this programme and let us be your guide.
  2. Be open. Perhaps the mentor you had in mind is not available or maybe his/her profile has a different background than yours. Mentoring is about sharing knowledge and experience, discovering other options and new perspectives, considering other choices besides the more obvious ones.
  3. Communicate effectively. When contacting a mentor, explain why you are interested in him/her in particular, clarify your aim, and clearly state what you are looking for in a mentor, the level of implication, and commitment. You can rely on your own answers to the self-assessment questionnaire.
  4. Plan your meetings. Even if the objective of this program is to develop an informal mentorship adapted to both mentors and mentees, try to list the topics you are more interested in discussing, that is, aspirations, career obstacles, networking advice, counselling on training, time management, etc. Try to develop concrete questions for your mentor and provide as well information on yourself, on your network and your work, because nurturing the relationship is key.

Training for mentees

Besides the mentorship support, the RIS4CAREERS team has developed a training plan to complement the program.

The training will support not only a reflection on career goals but will also equip mentees with skills to face the job market. The training has been divided in different modules (the courses listed are examples):

  1. Career development / Human Resources
    1. Coaching on professional insertion (identify a personal project, how to communicate, how to address recruitment)
    2. Identify and valorise your PhD skills (how to build your CV)
    3. How recruitment works?
    4. European project funding
    5. Applying for a MSCA-PF
  2. Entrepreneurship
    1. Entrepreneurship suits you so well!
    2. How to manage a project in a company?
  3. Communication
    1. How to speak in public
    2. How to face an interview
    3. Leadership

Remember: The participants of the program will have to register on a first-come-first-served basis as most of the workshops have a maximum number of places available to allow interaction.

Besides the workshops and seminars, the program will offer testimonials of researchers working outside of academia and will offer the opportunity to networking with other mentees through informal sessions.

Training for mentors

Mentors will equally have access to training if they wish to and if there is enough interest. In particular, the team will propose several topics, such as, but not limited to:

  1. Mentorship practises
  2. European funding landscape
  3. Communication

Similar to the mentees’ opportunities, mentors will also be able to meet each other informally to share experiences and network.

This pilot program aims to bring closer the CIVIS research community while enhancing career prospects, motivation, self-awareness and communication skills.

Counting on a mentor can bring many benefits for researchers, including:

  • Better understanding of career goals and deeper reflection on future prospects
  • Increased contact with different profiles, also beyond academia
  • Greater confidence to face the job market
  • Better identification of needs in terms of training and skills
  • Improvement of network and, hence, possibilities of collaboration

Mentees are, however, not the only beneficiaries of the mentorship program, there are, indeed tangible advantages also for mentors, including:

  • Facing an intellectual challenge
  • Increased visibility and network
  • Learning about other points of views
  • Improvement on communication skills

How CIVIS universities benefit from this programme?

  • Stronger ties between the different research communities boosting collaborations
  • Better job market insertion / analysis of opportunities for researchers
  • Training sharing across CIVIS
  • Stronger HR strategy for researcher (HRS4R label)