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This page is to help department members consider mentoring, how it would benefit them and ways they can find a mentor.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a voluntary process in which one person gives their time to help a mentee, often in an area where they have senior expertise or have faced similar challenges in the past. There are many different types of mentoring and further definitions and examples can be found on the People and Organisational Development webpages.  

Finding a Mentor

In some cases a mentoring relationship may naturally emerge or you may have an idea of who you would like to be your mentor. In which case establishing and formalising the mentoring relationship, sometimes known as the 'mentoring contract' is the next step for which the guidance here may help. Alternatively there are many mentoring schemes which can match you with a mentor. 

Mentoring Programme 
For all Professional Service Colleagues 
Aurora is for women, up to senior lecturer level or the professional services equivalent  
National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) 

Applications to be a mentee open as cohorts (3 per year) found here: NIHR Leaders Support and Development Programme | NIHR 

Further information about the scheme can be found here: Mentoring Programme - FAQ | NIHR 

Designed to support NIHR Academy postdoctoral researchers  

This includes postdoctoral researchers who hold a personal NIHR award (e.g. a fellowship) or are funded at least 25% through the NIHR applied Research Collaboration (ARC), The School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), Biomedical Research Collaboration (BRC) or another part of the NIHR infrastructure  

*You will need to be funded for at least 2 years and have a minimum of six months remaining on your postdoctoral funding or NIHR personal award from the close of applications. 

Society for Academic Primary Care: Mentorship programme | SAPC 
Medical and primary health care scientists working in Primary Care departments 
Individuals holding doctoral or post-doctoral ICA award 

Oxford Policy Engagement Network: OPEN Peer Mentoring Scheme | University of Oxford 

Researchers with an interest in policy 
Women and non-binary people who are current members of the University of Oxford (student or staff member) or alumni.


The mentoring process is about helping people develop and progress in their careers. Once you have found a mentor either through the scheme or by personal contact it is time to establish a mentoring relationship. It is likely that this relationship will not stand still and may go through the following stages:

  • Building rapport

Getting to know each other and agreeing the basis for working together.

  • Setting direction

What are the issues to be tackled? What are the priorities?

  • Making progress

Taking action, maintaining regular contact and engaging in activity.

  • Moving on

Concluding the relationship in a satisfactory way when the purpose of the partnership has been achieved.


University of Oxford, People and Organisational Development (POD) pages on Mentoring:

POD Skills Guide on mentoring:

Mentoring for Development (E-learning course):

Coaching is different to mentoring but provides many of the same benefits. You can find out more about coaching and the university's scheme: