Transition to research mentoring

Our Transitions'mentoring scheme matches first-year full-time (or first and second year part-time PGRs) with a group of later stage doctoral students. Our friendly, professionally trained PGR mentors are further on it their studies, so they can help newer research students to settle in and feel part of the wider research community. 

About the scheme

Our mentoring programmes run throughout the year, and you can register at any time to be a mentor or mentee.

Mentoring sessions usually last about an hour (the exact duration is up to you), and the sessions have previously taken place both virtually and face-to-face. Since the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, all of our mentoring has taken place virtually online.

The time you spend with your mentor is negotiable between the two of you, but we would suggest meeting about once a month for a minimum of 3 months. The relationship should last between three and six months to get the full benefit from the relationship.

Research mentors support new PGRs in various ways. Mentors may acts as a source of information, provide coaching in specific skills, give feedback and serve as a confidante in times of crisis.

Here are some of the topics that could be covered in mentoring sessions:

  • International student perspectives and experiences
  • Professional skills development and career planning
  • Time-management and organisation
  • Networking and being part of the research community
  • Part-time study
  • Teaching while studying
  • Promoting and presenting my research (publishing, conferences)
  • Research skills and resources
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Motivation
  • Finding my feet
  • Work-life balance

All our researcher mentors and mentees are supported by the RDP team at Surrey. We provide professional training for our mentors, and our mentoring managers are available to support you during the course of your mentoring relationship.

We invite our mentors and mentees to feedback after the mentoring relationship has ended, so that they can help us reshape and improve our mentoring for future researchers.

Please email to get in touch with our mentoring managers, for more information or with any questions.

Sign up for a mentor

If you are new to your research degree and you would be interested in chatting with a PGR mentor and benefiting from their advice and experience, then please complete our Transitions mentoring application form.

Researchers who receive support and guidance from a mentor are called mentees.

After you have applied

By completing the mentoring application form you are registering your interest in having a PGR mentor. The application form will ask you to provide information about your individual needs, goals and expectations as a mentee. The mentoring managers in the Doctoral College RDP team will look at your application, and carefully try and match you with a mentor that best suits your requirements.

The waiting time to be allocated a mentor can vary from a few weeks to a few months. It will depend on the time of year and how suitable the mentors in our current mentoring pool are to your requirements. We try to match up our mentors to mentees at specific and regular points throughout the academic year.

Once we have found you a match, a mentoring manager will contact you by email with your mentor's contact details. You and your mentor can take it from there!

Sign up to be a mentor

The first step to becoming a mentor is to complete this short application form, which will let us know more about your experience, background and preferences.

Our mentoring managers will look at your application form and try to match you will a suitable mentee. The matching process can take anything from a few weeks to a few months - all depending on mentee numbers, requirements and the time of year.

In your application form, you will be asked to specify when you are available for mentoring.


We also recommend that all our mentors completed our RDP Mentoring training workshop. The workshops are scheduled throughout the year. 

Our professional mentor training is available through RDP. You can search the next available dates and sign on to the workshop through Surrey Self-Service. You can also find details of upcoming dates on our workshops diary page. The workshop normally runs for three hours, and is also available virtually.

Contact us

Find us

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Researcher Development Programme
10 LB 05
University of Surrey