"This is something I myself really missed during my time as a researcher."

2020-09-29

Participants in the Mentor4Research programme at Uppsala University
Together, Shruti Kashyap, researcher at the Department of business studies and Björn Sjöholm, cybersecurity entrepreneur, make up one of twenty Mentor4Research teams at Uppsala University, a programme in which business-minded mentors help young researchers build networks and learn about commercialisation.

The last day to apply for Mentor4Research 2021 is approaching. The programme provides PhD students and researchers from all subject areas the opportunity to partner with a mentor from outside of academia and develop a broader network both within and outside the university.

“For many researchers, it is a challenge to know what in their research can be utilized and how it could be done. In these cases, Mentor4Research fulfills an important function by adding new knowledge, perspectives and inspiration,” says Hillevi Englund at UU Innovation.

Together with colleague Nhils Forslund, she will lead next year's mentoring programme, which is open for application until 15 October. The programme is aimed at PhD students and researchers who are curious about how their own research can be transformed into something that is useful to society. To support this process, participants are matched with an experienced mentor for personalised mentoring and support. The mentors are active outside of academia and can contribute with broad experience and deep industry knowledge. Additionally, they can open the doors to new contacts and networks in business and society.

“I have worked with Mentor4Research since 2018 and it just gets more fun every year. Of course, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the right mentor for each applicant, but I think we usually succeed quite well with that. The programme has also become well known and appreciated which can lead to inquiries from alumni who would like to become mentors,” says Nhils Forslund.

Although personalised mentoring is the very core of the programme, it consists of more activities to strengthen the participants' competence in matters concerning the utilization of research results. Among other things, it includes a number of workshops where participants can learn everything from how to protect, present and build teams around an idea, as well as how to network effectively.

Mentor4Research is open to PhD students and researchers from all fields. The interest in getting one of the programme's 20 places is growing, as is the subject breadth of the participants. This year's programme involves researchers from departments such as ALM (Archives – Libraries – Museums), psychology, chemistry, organismal biology, immunology, genetics and pathology as well as public health and care sciences.

“One of the lesser-known purposes of the programme is to bring together people from different fields, who would otherwise not normally meet. This has resulted in a number of interesting exchanges and in some cases joint research projects as well,” says Hillevi Englund and adds:

“This is something I myself really missed during my time as a researcher. Imagine having a mentor outside the academic world with whom you can brainstorm ideas - it is a great opportunity for new perspectives.”

Watch the films with some of this year's participants and mentors and learn about their experiences:

Shruti Kashyap and Björn Sjöholm

Dennis van der Meer and Johan Lindahl

Ida Hensler and Elin Karlberg

Read more about Mentor4Research and apply no later than October 15 on UU Innovation's website.

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