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Postdoc Group Mentoring Scheme

Every year, Queen's runs a Postdoc Group Mentoring Scheme where small groups of postdocs are provided a mentor. They meet a few times in the semester and learn from both the mentor and each other.

This scheme is organised collaboratively by Organisational Development and the PDC.

Mentoring Groups (also known as mentoring circles) are groups consisting of a lead Mentor, who is a member of academic staff with experience of postdoctoral supervision, and a group of participants (Mentees) who are postdoctoral researchers. They meet every four to six weeks to discuss challenges that mentees face, find solutions and engage in career development activities.

Group mentoring has many of the benefits of traditional 1:1 mentoring, but also includes other outcomes, such as:

  • Peer to peer support in addition to standard mentoring
  • Networking and building relationships
  • Variety and depth of discussions
  • Mentees benefit from the different perspectives of peers and mentor
  • Can reach a larger number of mentees with fewer mentors

2023-24 Programme


Applications to participate in the programme as mentor or postdoc mentee for 2023-24 are now open.

Apply for the Postdoc Group Mentoring Programme


Application deadline: 10 January 2024 at 23:59

Postdoc group mentoring testimonial

Hear from previous mentors and mentees about the benefits of the postdoc group mentoring scheme

  • When is the scheme organised and how to apply?

    The scheme is organised once a year.

    Mentors and participants are usually recruited at the end of the first semester. You will then be matched with a mentor and fellow mentees, who you will meet at the Scheme launch (at the start of the second semester), when we will discuss how to make the best out of this mentoring opportunity. Attendance at this event is required but very beneficial.

    The groups arrange to meet at least 4 times by the end of June. They define the dates that suit them best and the topics they want to discuss together.

    When the scheme is open for applications, application forms will be added to this page and circulated via the PDC communication channels.

    The application consists in a short form gathering your interests to enable as good a matching process as possible. Participants will be selected in a "first-come first-serve" manner. The number of participants accepted will depend on the number of mentors available.

  • What are the benefits of taking part?

    For mentees, the group mentoring can provide:

    • A smoother adjustment to a new role or position
    • Help in acquiring the skills and knowledge they need for career progression
    • Guidance on career development
    • A greater understanding of both the formal and informal workings of Queen’s University as an organisation or the mentor's sector of activity
    • Opportunities to discuss the costs and benefits of different careers and environments based on the mentor's experience


    • Participants are expected to provide a supportive and positive atmosphere that encourages individuals to share personal stories and advice, keeping discussions confidential
    • The mentors are here to share their experience and advice, not to find participants a job
  • What is the time commitment?

    When taking part, you will need to attend:

    • The introduction session (1 h)
    • A minimum of 4 group sessions of 1 - 1.5 h

    It is essential that all mentees attend all sessions, both to benefit as much as possible from the scheme but also as respect for the mentor and other participants.

    We advise that dates for all meetings are set up at the first meeting and blocked on all participants' diaries.

  • How are the groups made?

    Mentees will, as much as possible, be grouped with colleagues who are at a similar stage in their postdoctoral career and share common objectives. Mentors will be matched with groups of staff who were working outside of their direct area of research, based on the expectations mentees provided on their applications. The composition of the groups and matching process will of course depend on the individuals who have signed-up.

  • How does it work?

    Group Composition

    Interdisciplinary groups of up to 6 participants will be allocated to each mentor. Successful schemes elsewhere have found that the groups work well if participants have broadly similar interests, but are from a mixture of different disciplines. This enables a greater variety of perspectives and experiences to come out in discussions and can lead to increased learning for the participants.

    Voluntary participation

    It is essential that participation is voluntary for both mentors and mentees. If a mentee decides not to continue, there will be no negative repercussions for that individual. However, we would ask that they notify the scheme co-ordinator and their mentor to provide feedback. This will inform future improvements/ developments to the scheme.

    Group Meeting Planning Sessions

    Mentors will adopt their own method to run and facilitate their groups. Groups are a space for everyone to speak. At times, group leadership will involve the facilitation of discussion between the mentees. The scheme aims for a fairly informal approach, however, mentors will be asked to consider a loose plan for running the sessions.

    Group Meeting Coordination and Frequency

    We recommend that groups meet a minimum of 4 times during the semester but it will be up to the group and mentor to decide upon a schedule for meetings. We recommend that meeting dates are scheduled at the first meeting of the group to ensure that dates are in everyone's diaries well in advance.

    Group Meeting Discussion Themes

    Topics for discussion are decided independently by each group.

More about mentoring at Queen's
People & Culture: Staff Mentoring