Practicalities for the USI community

Academic Mentoring and Shadowing

In 2001, the Equal Opportunities Service launched a new program for women doctoral students and post-doc researchers called Academic Mentoring.

Adopted by all Swiss universities, academic mentoring represents a strategic contribution towards the development of the academic careers of women and gender minoritised individuals. Academic Mentoring acts as a vehicle in providing guidance and advice to early-career academics, and it completes the guidance normally provided by Faculty tutors or supervisors.

In particular, USI's Academic Mentoring program ("Gender and academic careers") enables participants to:

  • be teamed up with a mentor, a “resource person” - professor, lecturer, researcher who is an expert in the chosen field of research;
  • apply for the Shadowing grant, to visit an expert in another academic institution, allowing the applicant to take a temporary leave of absence from USI;
  • take part in free training workshops and events organised by the Equal Opportunities Service on issues related to equal opportunities in academic work.

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  • Mentoring

    Academic Mentoring is a programme designed for women and gender minoritised individuals who work at USI as doctoral or post-doctoral researchers. The aim of the programme is to support participants in planning their academic careers, improving their expertise and/or widen their contact network.

    To be associated with a mentor

    A mentor is a person who is willing to encourage, train, and counsel one or more early career academics as they set off on their career path, by offering their experience as an example. The guidance of a mentor integrates the guidance offered by the mentee's own supervisor and Faculty's members. Mentoring is a tailor-made form of counselling, in which the role of the mentor is to help the mentee to better define their career path and to achieve their professional objectives.

    The program is intended for Ph.D students and Post-doc researchers who are interested in pursuing an academic career.

    If you wish to join the program, please fill out the relevant form and return it to the Equal Opportunities Service.

    Then, the mentee will be called in for an interview, and invited to define her objectives and draw up a profile of her ideal mentor. The mentor may be a person already known to the aspiring mentee; or someone who can be identified with the help of the Equal Opportunities Service, on the basis of the profile preferred by the mentee.

    When the matching process has been completed, both mentee and mentor sign an agreement. The agreement sets out the objectives to be reached, defines the boundaries of the collaboration, a schedule, and the conduct of the meetings. Both parties are expected to act in line with the terms of the agreement, and to contact the Equal Opportunities Service in the event of any changes or particular issues

  • Shadowing

    Women PhD students and post-doc researchers who are enrolled in the Academic Mentoring program "Gender and Academic Careers" have the opportunity to apply for a “Shadowing” grant, which allow them to spend one month in a university outside Swtzerland to collaborate with an expert in one’s own field of research or with a research group of special interest.

    During this period, mentees are exempted from activities carried out at USI, subject to prior agreement with their reference institute/Faculty or thesis supervisor, and their salary shall be covered by the Equal Opportunities Service.

    To engage in a period of shadowing, interested applicants are required to follow the procedure indicated in the relevant annual call.

    The call for applications opens on Wednesday 14 December 2022 and closes on Monday 23 January 2023.

    • Call for the Shadowing Grant 2023
    • Form to apply to Shadowing Grant 2023

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Updated on: 18 November 2021