Doctoral researcher or postdoctoral researcher, would you like to have a mentor?

The mentoring programme supports doctoral researchers and postdoctoral researchers in their career development and in recognizing one's professional skills and expertise. Mentoring programme is a joint programme between University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. Mentoring is based on openness, confidentiality and commitment. Mentoring is carried out in small groups or in pairs (1 mentor and 1-2 mentees). The mentoring programme begins with an orientation seminar in February and the programme ends in October. The seminar will be held in English.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a guidance process during which a competent and experienced expert (mentor) provides support to a person (mentee) motivated to develop their skills. Mentoring can be useful, for example, for planning or redirecting one's career, expanding networks and recognizing one's expertise. The mentor can be from academia or outside of academia. The mentee has primary ownership over the mentoring relationship by taking initiative, travelling to meet the mentor and providing the agenda for each of the meeting.

Mentoring programme schedule

  • Opening seminar in February
  • Closing of the programme in October

During the programme, the participants and their mentor are expected to meet 5—6 times.

Next Call for applications in 16 October - 17 November, 2023.

How to apply for the mentoring programmes of doctoral researchers and postdoctoral researchers

Eligible applicants are the doctoral researchers and postdoctoral researchers of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. Grantees are also welcome to participate in mentoring programmes.Please note that applying is binding, i.e. presence in the opening seminar in February and active participation to the meetings throughout the mentoring programme are required. During the programme, the participants and their mentor are expected to meet 5—6 times. If you are not in Turku in February - October, please indicate this clearly in the application form.

Applying to the mentoring programme is done by filling in an electronic form to which a motivation letter and a CV are attached as one document. In the motivation letter, you are expected to describe you, your interests and your goals regarding the mentoring programme.

You should name 3-5 persons one of whom you wish to be your mentor in the application form. You don't need to contact the persons by yourself. So, before filling in the form, think over your expectations for a mentor and the mentoring programme. Based on the application and motivation letter, the mentoring team and your mentor will get a picture of you, your interests, and what your expectations for the programme are.

The application form opens when the application period starts.

>> Link to the application form

The application form questions are in English. However, you may also give your answers in Finnish and write your motivation letter and CV in Finnish, in case you wish to have a Finnish speaking mentor.

Who would be the right mentor for me?

In the application, you are asked to name three to five persons, who you would like to have as your mentor. Here are a few tips what to consider before filling the application form for the mentoring programme:

  1. Use time to figure out your professional goals and your goals for the mentoring programme.
  2. Know what you are looking for a mentor. PhD degree and work experience from your dream job would certainly be an advantage to a mentor. However, other issues might be more important to reach your professional goals.
    • Reach out to your existing networks and use social media to find persons, who you would like to have as your mentor. Your supervisors, colleagues, collaborators or superiors might have good ideas. LinkedIn is a great tool if you do not have existing networks for this purpose.
    • Remember, finding a mentor is not just about finding someone with a great career; it is also about finding someone who understands your unique needs and can provide tailored guidance and support. It is highly likely that for example Bill Gates is not interested to volunteer to help you to reach your professional goals. Be patient and persistent in your search, and you will likely find a mentor who can significantly contribute to your professional development.
  3. Write an appealing motivation letter. What kind of motivation letter would encourage you to help a stranger? Guidelines and tips for the contents of the motivation letter is provided below.  

When you are ready, fill the electronic application form and relax. Mentoring programme staff will contact possible mentors. The programme will start in Opening seminar in February.

Guidelines and tips for the contents of the motivation letter

The motivation letter will be sent to your mentor in order for them to be able to get to know you and your aims. Thus, address the letter to your future mentor.

In the motivation letter, tell about yourself, your professional goals, and expectations for the mentoring programme. The clearer you are able to communicate your expectations, the more likely it is for you to be accepted to the programme.

You may apply the same principles to the motivation letter as you would to a job application, for instance. The letter is ca. 1 page long organized text in which you market yourself to your mentor and tell why you are interested in participating in the mentoring programme. Write about why you would be a good and motivated mentee and what aims you wish to achieve during the mentoring programme. Motivation letter is not your research plan.

While drafting the motivation letter, feel free to use the following questions as an aid:

  • Tell about yourself, your studies, and your professional career briefly and succinctly.
  • Tell about your strengths and what type of things you are especially interested in.
  • How do you see in your future as a researcher and/or an employee like?
  • What type of tasks in your own field interest you?
  • Why do you wish to participate in the mentoring programme and what do you expect to gain from it?
  • What type of a professional in your own field would you like to get to know?
  • What themes would you like to go over with your mentor?
  • What tasks do you find challenging and what areas of expertise would you like to develop?
  • The letter can reflect your personality!

>> What is mentoring? Read more about the mentoring programmes

>> Read about mentors and mentees' experiences in the mentoring process

For more information, contact the coordinators of the mentoring programme!

University of Turku, Doctoral programme coordinator, Research Career Unit
Sari Järvi
p. +358 50 358 4596

University of Turku, Coordinator, Research Career Unit
Jenni Kankaanpää
p. +358 50 572 3219

Åbo Akademi University, Research coordinator, Research Services
Maria Ljung
p. 046 921 6031