What is mentoring?
Mentoring links a person with experience and an established position in her or his academic field (a mentor) with a person wishing to pursue an academic career (a mentee). In the mentoring exchange, mentors share their experience, provide references, strategies and useful information on formal and informal rules in academia. Mentoring offers non-judgmental support outside institutional hierarchies, with the aim of fostering the mentee's or the peer's personal and career development in academia and research. In its informal version, mentoring is an important element in career development in academia and other professional fields. Research shows that women still benefit less from this kind of informal support. Formal mentoring comes from the Anglo-Saxon academic culture where it is widely practiced in supporting young researchers. In other European countries, mentoring programmes are also becoming increasingly common.
The number of women intent on pursuing an academic career is continually growing. However, the obstacles they encounter remain significant, in particular the absence of informal networks.
Through its formal mentoring programme, the Réseau romand aims at fostering women in the pursuit of an academic career and by facilitating their integration into the scientific community.