Overview of the mentoring program
Through a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), NIH, the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC) is pleased to invite applications for a mentoring program. The objective of the program is to encourage and assist newly independent investigators who are from groups underrepresented in the sciences. The program will accept a limited number of young scientists and match each scientist with a more experienced investigator in order that an individualized mentoring experience can emerge. In the initial phase of this program, up to five young scientists will be matched with mentors. Based on the results of a recent survey of potential participants, this mentoring program will focus on assisting new investigators in writing of research proposals.
The mentoring program is focused on newly independent investigators who are members of the ASCB. Persons who are eligible to participate are senior postdoctoral scientists who are about to launch into their own independent positions and untenured junior faculty members who have been in their current positions for five years or less. Minority professors and professors in colleges and universities with a high minority enrollment are especially encouraged to apply for this award.
Selection of mentored participants
Eligible scientists may submit applications to the Minority Affairs Committee of the ASCB at any time prior to one of the two annual deadlines: April 15 and September 15. The selection committee will evaluate all completed applications using criteria that include the following considerations:
Expectations of the participants
Writing a good grant proposal requires time, effort, and the willingness of the proposer to react constructively to direct and often frank criticisms. In order for the advice to be useful, it is necessary that the mentee provide the mentor a mature draft of the proposal at least three months, and preferably six months, prior to the deadline for submission of the proposal to the funding agency. And it is important for the mentor to commit to providing constructive feedback in a prompt and understandable manner. It is expected that the mentor should read and critique at least two drafts of the proposal prior to the development by the mentee of the final proposal.
The award includes $1000 funding for travel for the mentee to visit the mentor’s institution. This visit may occur during the writing process or after the grant has been submitted. It is the MAC’s expectation that the mentee would be invited to present a research talk to the academic community during that visit. This mentoring program is a new initiative and it is important that the MAC monitor it in order to improve it as the program grows. Thus, from time to time, the Minorities Affairs Committee will survey the participants in order to understand better the effectiveness of the program. All participants—mentees and mentors—are expected to participate in these assessment surveys.