Mentors provide support and advice if PhD candidates experience problems with the process that cannot be solved together with their supervisors. PhD mentors are not involved in the scientific content of PhD projects. All contact is strictly confidential. However, PhD mentors report generic trends to the School’s director, without disclosing the details of particular cases.
Graduate School A+BE assigns a PhD mentor to each PhD candidate. This is done at the start of the PhD project. PhD mentors are staff members who have done PhDs and are used to supervising PhD candidates. They act as sounding boards, provide PhD candidates with support in the process, and alert them to potential bottlenecks and difficulties. Mentors inquire into the relations with the main and secondary supervisors, encourage candidates to take ownership of issues and provide additional support.
A candidate’s mentor is normally based at the same department as the candidate. If this feels too close (does the mentor closely collaborate with your supervisors or is he/she from the same chair?), you can of course approach one of the other mentors. Within the first few months, PhD candidates will be approached by their mentor to get acquainted. In addition, new PhD candidates will meet the other PhD mentors at the quarterly PhD welcome meetings. During the following four years, the PhD candidate and mentor meet as often as necessary.
The A+BE mentors have expanded their service to PhD candidates and will take up the role as advisor in Doctoral Education. Although supervisors remain the first point of contact for the PhD candidate to advise on this matter, all those involved can benefit from a single advisor at the departmental level who has a good overview of the courses on offer and knows about the latest updates. Moreover, the mentor has an independent interest in directing a PhD candidate to the most suitable courses and make the curriculum a priority besides the main research assignment.
>>Read more (UGS website) on the role of the mentor and other forms of support.