New podcast provides digital mentoring tips for early career researchers

Your Digital mentor written on a blackboard

A new podcast has been launched to bring digital mentoring and career development advice to early career researchers in the life sciences. The ‘Your Digital Mentor’ podcast aims to kickstart the conversation around mentoring and other aspects of research culture, with a special focus on low and middle-income countries (LMIC).

The series is a collaboration between the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences (ACSC) and Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health (SESH). The series will comprise 12 40-minute episodes, on subjects ranging from finding a mentor, to equality and diversity in science, to decolonizing global health.

The first episode, discussing the mentoring experience, aired on 5 August 2020 with guests Dr Grace Mwaura (African Academy of Sciences) and Dr Andres Lescano (Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Johns Hopkins University). All episodes will be available on Soundcloud, YouTube, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Dr Christine Boinett, creator and Executive Producer, Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences (ACSC), said: “During my career I have had some amazing mentors who have helped me develop in so many ways. But it took me a few years to learn to ask for mentorship when I needed it, which is one of the things we’re hoping to address. We want all researchers to recognise and have access to the benefits of a good mentor, especially those in low and middle-income countries where mentorship opportunities may be harder to find.”

The series will interview mentors, mentees, students, researchers, public health professionals and clinicians to talk about their experiences as mentors or mentees. Each episode will focus on a key topic, including mentorship skills, relationship building, networking tips, Equality and Diversity in Science, and Women in STEM. Discussions will include expert advice in subjects of growing importance in disease research and global health.

Dr Fredros Okumu, guest on the “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” episode and Director of Science at the Ifakara Health Institute, commented: “Genomic sciences and bioinformatics are revolutionising healthcare, yet there is a need for more expertise and mentorship in low and middle-income countries to ensure that medical advances benefit all. This is a huge challenge, but initiatives like the Your Digital Mentor podcast can certainly help early career researchers to access the knowledge and experience that will help them to excel.”

Dr Beth Thompson, Head of Policy & Advocacy (UK and EU) at Wellcome and an upcoming Your Digital Mentor guest, added: “There are many wonderful mentors in science, but there are also aspects of research culture, such as diversity and researcher wellbeing, which we must all strive to improve. Mentorship is vital to overcoming the personal challenges created by this environment, and to support people to create wider change, so I’m delighted to be taking part in the Your Digital Mentor podcast.”

To read more information, click here.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a world-leading genomics research centre, based on the Wellcome Genome Campus, arguably the largest single-site community of expertise in Genomes and BioData in the world. We undertake large-scale research that forms the foundations of knowledge in biology and medicine. We are open and collaborative; our data, results, tools and technologies are shared across the globe to advance science.

Our ambition is vast – we take on projects that are not possible anywhere else.

Wellcome Sanger Institute