Mentoring opportunities

We're always happy to help put you in contact with others we think may be able to offer some mentoring, please do get in touch.

We offer a range of different mentoring opportunities such as:

Women in Ecology Mentoring Scheme

We have run a mentoring scheme for women in ecology since 2009. Mentors provide professional support to mentees with everything from a change of career, applying for grants, moving to a lectureship from post-doctoral research or balancing work with family life.

Who can apply?

Mentees must be women BES members, who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in ecology or related subject.

Mentors must be BES members with more than five years work experience in any sector of relevance to ecology.

You can be based anywhere in the world, as long as you are happy to participate by email, telephone or Skype. Mentoring pairs must keep in touch on a regular basis (via phone, Skype or in person). A minimum of 3 contact hours in total will be expected, per month.

Not You? We are developing a mentoring network open to ecologists of any gender and at any career stage. Contact Samina Zaman if you are interested.

How to apply & key dates

*We are no longer accepting applications for the scheme*

To participate in the 2016/2017 scheme, apply by 25 July 2016.

For more information on what is expected from mentors and mentees, including training provision please see the Guide to the BES Women in Ecology Mentoring Scheme. Please read this short document before you complete your application.

Guide to the BES Women In Ecology Mentoring Scheme

Applicants informed w/c:  1 August 2016
Training day: 30 September 2016
Please contact: Samina Zaman if you have any problems with the application process.

Why mentoring for women?

There is poor representation of women at senior levels of life science professions. Within academia, only 15% of biology professors in the UK are women.  This trend is also seen in ecology; a 2013 survey of BES members showed that women are over-represented at undergraduate and postgraduate levels but increasingly underrepresented at postdoc level and beyond. The BES recognises that encouraging women to remain in ecological careers, all the way to the top, is Society business.

We believe that better retention of women in ecology will lead to the creation of a more diverse, stimulating and talented research community, in an inclusive and positive working environment.

Can men be mentors?

Many senior women scientists cite the influence and support of male mentors in their career progression. We are also aware that the under-representation of women in senior positions means that these women are under considerable strain to provide pastoral responsibilities. We have therefore expanded the 2015 Women in Ecology Mentoring Scheme to include male mentors.

We understand that some mentees will prefer to be mentored by other women. You can make this preference clear on your application form.

The benefits of mentoring

Mentoring provides a safe, confidential environment for individuals to explore work, career and sometimes personal issues. Women who are mentored report increased confidence, self-esteem and motivation.

Mentoring also benefits the mentors. They can develop capabilities in developing others outside of their own department or team and also have the satisfaction of seeing another person develop and grow.

Feedback from participants

The BES has run a mentoring scheme since 2009. Feedback from past participants has been very positive:

A mentor says: “Two mentees have now got permanent jobs – I was able to offer specific advice on interview techniques and applications, which I hope was helpful. Also was able to offer advice on a range of other issues that arose.”

A mentee says: “The main benefit is support, and also to get the chance to discuss and plan my career. Otherwise you spend much time doing work, but not thinking about what you want to do later on, and how to get there.”