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The AAS Mentorship Scheme

Transformed lives through science

Through the AAS mentorship scheme, African rising research leaders receive guidance and support from experienced professionals towards achieving their desired career development goals.

Inadequate mentorship in African higher education and research institutions means that most Africa-based early and mid-career postdoctoral scientists are less likely to receive support and guidance in grant writing, making career decisions, attaining a job, joining research networks, publishing and science communication among other essential career development needs. Where mentors are available, they are often few, overburdened by administrative and teaching responsibilities, or lack any experience in mentoring postdoctoral scientists.  

Mentors can Enrol here. First time Ishango users should refer to this guide for ease of registration

The 2019 cohort of mentees will be The AAS Affiliates, and FLAIR Fellows only.

The AAS Mentorship Scheme addresses this dual challenge by matching rising research leaders with experienced mentors who will guide and support them in overcoming the barriers to becoming thriving science leaders in Africa.  
The scheme equips our mentors and mentees to be courageous, collaborative, and open-minded in pursuing exceptional science career paths. 

Mentors are trained and motivated to support mentees in their career development endeavours while mentees learn how to articulate their goals, ask questions, and reflect on their learning and growth.  The Academy’s considerable experience in building the capacity of African science leaders offers a wide network of scientists from which interested individuals are enrolled, trained and supported to mentor early and mid-career postdoctoral researchers.  
The AAS envisages that by mentoring Africa-based scientists, we will increase the pool of high quality and influential science leaders motivated to mentor future scientists on the continent. 

Mentors don’t always have to be at the top of their career ladder, but they should have at least several years’ work experience on which to draw their advice. They are prepared and willing to invest time and effort into developing another scientist, share their own experiences and challenge the person in a constructive manner. AAS Fellows, grantees, and Affiliates with significant professional experience are eligible to become mentors. Other eligible mentors will be senior scientists or professionals with the ability to guide the mentee’s career growth. The mentors should be committed to dedicate at least one hour per month for online mentoring sessions and able to attend an annual face-to-face meeting of mentors and mentees

Mentees are early to mid-career scientists who have completed their PhDs and are working in an Africa-based higher education or research institution at the time of application. They are supported to address a range of career development needs including scientific expertise; career pathways advice; policy engagement; leadership development; interdisciplinary collaboration; communication; entrepreneurship & innovation; publishing; fundraising & grant management; networking; well-being at the workplace; visibility; research management; science outreach; student supervision; and managing administrative duties. The scheme will initially enrol mentees from the AAS postdoctoral programme and thereafter from her partner institutions. Interested mentees can email mentoring@aasciences.ac.ke.

A distance mentoring approach is adopted to ensure a wider pool of mentoring opportunities are provided, mentors and mentees are drawn from all over the world and can participate in a manner flexible and suitable to their working environments.

Enrolment to the scheme is through the AAS Ishango system (Go to System). Those with accounts may log in with their username (email address) and password. New users should contact mentoring@aasciences.ac.ke for set up.

Matching of mentees with mentors will account for the synergy between mentor’s areas of strength and mentee’s mentoring needs; any shared interests; alignment to one’s purpose; the willingness to develop a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship; and the availability of the mentors.

  • An expanded network of peers and role models in African science and development
  • Gaining new skills and competences e.g. on leadership, active listening, role modelling etc.
  • Learning first-hand of the challenges encountered by early- and mid-career researchers in Africa
  • Re-energizing the mentors’ career and gives one a personal satisfaction of contributing to scientific citizenship
  • Recognition and respect amongst peers
  • Widening one’s perspectives on career development pathways
  • Strengthening one’s interpersonal and communication skills
  • Boosting one’s confidence to explore the diversity in science careers
  1. Identify your mentoring strengths/needs
  2. Enrol as mentor/mentee
  3. Read/watch required training resources
  4. Await matching with mentee/mentor
  5. Attend your first mentor-mentee meeting
  6. Discuss mentoring goals & sign Mentoring Agreement
  7. Engage & nurture the mentoring relationship
  8. Review and provide feedback on the relationship
  9. Attend annual mentorship retreat
  10. Transition to mentor other scientists
  • Nominate mentors from your pool of experienced scientists/professionals
  • Co-host mentorship activities in an African institution/country
  • Support face-to-face meetings of mentors and mentees
  • Collaborate in tracking impact of career mentorship schemes in Africa

Mentors and mentees can download here resources to prepare for the mentorship scheme. These resources include enrolment guidelines, a Mentors Guide, a Mentee's Guide, frequently asked questions, and tips on how to maintain effective distance mentoring relationships.

For further information contact the AAS Mentoring Coordinators: mentoring@aasciences.ac.ke