Thanks for your interest in supporting our Mentoring for Research Programme as a Mentor. We invite you to learn more about the programme and the role through some of the questions and answers in our carved out of our correspondences form potential mentors. We will be, however, available and happy to respond to specific question that you require further clarifications on. Thank you. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org (copy: email@example.com).
Is ISNAD-Africa a non-profit organization?
The International Support Network for African Development (ISNAD-Africa) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) promoting sustainable energy development, environmental sustainability and climate action in Africa through a multidisciplinary network of professionals, researchers, and students in energy, environment, and climate-related fields across the globe. ISNAD-Africa is registered with the Corporate Affair Commission of the Federal Government of Nigeria (CAC/IT/NO 99790)
Would mentors be paired with a single student, more than one student, students working in a group?
The Mentoring for Research Programme (MRP) is structured to be a one-to-one relationship between mentors and mentees with electronic communication via e-mails, Skype (when necessary), for instance. Hence, the mentoring relationship would be flexible for the convenience of the mentors and mentees and only one mentee will be allocated to a mentor during a mentoring year.
What are the expected time requirements/commitments for mentors and what would be his/her role to the mentee?
Researchers and professionals invited to support the programme as mentors were carefully selected to be experienced experts in their fields who, we also recognise, would be busy with their respective research or business engagements. Therefore, we do not have specific time investment fixed for mentors. Mentor-mentee communications would be mostly by email which mentors could respond to at their convenience and could schedule Skype calls with the mentees when necessary. We would, however, appreciate timely response to mentee’s emails. We will be grateful if mentors could kindly respond to mentee’s emails within one week to aid the progress of their work.
While we believe that each mentoring relationship will be unique and flexible, we desire that:
- MRP will be a one-to-one relationship between the mentee and mentor.
- Mentors will guide their mentees in the choice of their research approach based on their expereince
- Mentors will provide overall guidance in the structuring of the research
- Mentors might also suggest to their mentees publications that might help their research
- It will be highly appreciated if mentors could also help the mentees by reviewing writings and findings from their research.
What level of study are the students at and are these mentoring opportunities in the context of a class, an honors project or graduate project? Would the mentor be coordinating with the student’s institution-based supervisor? Are the students expected to produce something tangible at the end (a paper)?
The programme is majorly targeted at students pursuing master’s degree programme whose research work is usually completed within one year. However, being the first cycle of the programme, we will open the programme to accommodate some PhD students and best performing final year students pursuing various undergraduate programmes. Therefore, research projects that would be undertaken in the mentoring programme are research projects for dissertation and thesis on degree programmes, therefore, mentees will be required to make paper publication with the mentor as a co-author. With this, we will be happy to have mentors relate with the institution-based supervisors of the mentees. Apart from paper publishing, we plan to organise a symposium where findings of the research projects undertaken in the programme will be presented with stakeholders invited to be in attendance to uptake the research findings. With our monitoring and evaluation activities, we will draw lessons from various aspects of the programme during the first cycle and lessons learnt will be used to improve on subsequent cycles.
Where are they coming from (i.e. particular country/university/study programme)? - What degrees are they pursuing?
The programme is majorly targeted students pursuing various master’s degree programmes in African universities whose research work is usually completed within one year. However, being the first cycle of the programme, the programme will accommodate some PhD students and exceptionally-performing final year students pursuing various undergraduate programmes. With our monitoring and evaluation activities, we will draw lessons from various aspects of the programme, including the level of students to focus on, during the first cycle. Lessons learnt will be used to improve on subsequent cycles. Some mentors requested for PhD students. We will be following up on every mentoring relationship.
What discipline will the student come from and are the mentors able to select their students?
The mentoring programme welcomes students for various disciplines who are or will be conducting their research on sustainable energy, environment. As part of the application procedure for students enrolling for the programme, applicants will be required to go through mentors’ profiles on ISNAD’s website with their research interests and include in their applications names of two possible mentors whose expertise aligns with their (proposed) research. At the end of the application process, mentors will be allowed to select one mentee of the shortlisted applicants based on the details of the applicant provided during the application process. While the completed application forms provides detailed information about applicants, their background research, mentors are also free to have one-to-one interactions with shortlisted applicants (via Skype) before making final selection. This way, we are sure mentees will work in the area of interest of their mentors.
What is the selection criteria for students admitted into the programme?
Application for the programme is opened to postgraduate students in all universities across Africa whose research projects aligns with the thematic areas of the programme (sustainable energy, environment and climate change). The applications are reviewed and assessed based on the quality of research, alignment with our thematic areas, applicant’s motivation, academic record, recommendation from student’s university-based supervisors, amongst others.
Must a mentor be a researcher working in a university or research organisation?
Researchers, academics and professionals are welcome to support the programme as mentors. Having sustainable energy industry experts and professionals in the mentoring relationship is aimed at guiding the students to structure their research to meet a need in the industry such that the research outputs could be such that could be taken up for practice in the industry or solve a problem in the society. Currently, we have professionals from Think Tanks, private organisations, development partners, among others in our Mentors’ Community.
How are mentors recruited into the programme?
Mentors are recruited into the programme via two methods: Direct Invitation and Expression of Interest. For the direct invitation, ISNAD-Africa use various platforms to hunt for experts, study profiles and send invitations. Also, there is an “Expression of Interest” form on our website which experts who come across the programme through various platforms can submit. In both cases, mentors are invited or accepted based on the level of expertise, academic background and qualification, professional and research experience (nature of projects and years of experience), etc.
How would the mentors’ performance be evaluated?
ISNAD-Africa is always in copy of every email exchanged between the mentors and mentees. Also, a quarterly two-way evaluations is conducted through two separate surveys. The students (mentees) evaluate the mentors, while the mentors evaluate the students and the outcomes of the survey is used for evaluation and review of the progamme. Also, at the completion of the programme, mentees are required to write about their experience on the programme through testimonials which are published online.
What is the value proposition for mentors?
Based on the contributions of the mentor, students are required to include mentors as co-authors in the scientific publications from the research. We also intend to appreciate the mentors through other means possible such as inviting them for our symposium, mentors’ award, and promoting their work via social media, among others. Experience on the programme has shown that experts who are supporting the programme as mentors have committed to the programme based on their willingness to help Africa raise a new generation of experts who would use their knowledge and expertise to catalyse clean energy transition and climate resilience on the continent.