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Supporting academic trainees

This page provides information about the ways in which the RCOG supports postgraduate academic trainees.

Academic trainees’ Google Group

The RCOG Academic Trainees’ Google Group provides you with a confidential way to communicate and network with other academic trainees in O&G. The group’s open to all trainees who are interested in women’s health research.

To join the group, please  or call +44 20 7772 6203.

Developing a clinical academic career

Health Education England (HEE) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have produced an animation which describes the opportunities on offer to all professions as part of HEE’s Clinical Academic Careers Framework which brings together research programmes funded by HEE and the NIHR.

Opportunities are split into two distinct programmes;

  • NIHR Integrated Academic Training (IAT) Programme for doctors and dentists
  • HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme for non-medical healthcare professions

Both programmes allow the opportunity for clinicians to combine their clinical and academic development, and each programme contains awards at different levels, to allow all professions to consider developing a clinical academic career.

Integrated Academic Training (IAT) Programme Guide

The Integrated Academic Training (IAT) Programme in England supports the training of doctors and dentists to develop their clinical academic careers and is delivered through a number of schemes that rely on close partnership between the NIHR, Health Education England (HEE), medical schools and NHS organisations. Please refer to the IAT guide, which sets out principles and obligations of all UK institutions and clinical trainees in receipt of nationally competitive funding for clinical academic research training. Academic trainees should refer to this website for answers to frequently asked questions on topics such as their contractual obligations and for guidance on training, appraisals, less than full time training, support and guidance etc in the first instance.

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland also support integrated academic training programmes and Academic Trainees in devolved nations may find similar details through the following websites:

Mentoring for academic trainees

The Academic Board has created a mentorship scheme to attract and support trainees who wish to develop an academic career throughout their training programme, by:

  • Encouraging trainees to undertake research and consider an academic career
  • Emphasising the opportunities available during an academic career
  • Providing long-term careers advice and guidance
  • Supporting all academic trainees in reaching their potential

The Academic Board has also collated a list of mentors for academic trainees.

The academic mentoring scheme allows trainees to take charge of their own personal, professional and career development, by sharing knowledge, attitudes, skills and experience with a mentor. The mentee and mentor will discuss any issues, and work together to generate new ideas and take action.

Mentoring is not:

  • Career patronage (the mentor doesn’t act as an additional academic supervisor and isn’t expected to advise on project methodology)
  • Counselling
  • Instruction
  • A shortcut to knowledge or results

The benefits for mentees are:

  • Careers guidance and professional development outside of your institution/deanery
  • Access to the experience and skills of an experienced academic in O&G
  • Opportunities to explore experiences, difficulties and areas for development
  • Opportunities to improve your performance and achieve your potential
  • Inspiration and stimulation of personal growth

The roles and responsibilities of a mentor are to:

  • Provide guidance, support and help to the mentee
  • Help the mentee to develop achievable generic and long-term goals
  • Help the mentee to develop a plan of action to achieve their goals
  • Help the mentee to develop relevant skills and confidence
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Be aware of resources available for trainees who need support beyond the boundaries of the mentoring relationship
  • Agree and follow the mentoring contract and undertake agreed tasks
  • Have undergone training or have experience in mentoring

The roles and responsibilities of a mentee are to:

  • Be keen to consider or develop an academic career
  • Set the agenda for meetings/discussions
  • Aspire to setting goals with support from the mentor, and undertake agreed tasks
  • Expect to receive honest, constructive feedback, and expect this may be challenging at times
  • Understand that their mentor is not their educational/research supervisor

The first meeting

The first meeting is important, as this is when the mentor and mentee will agree the purpose and boundaries of their relationship. The first meeting should be face-to-face, but may be via phone/Skype in exceptional circumstances.

Before the meeting, the mentee should:

  • Prepare well and identify specific areas for discussion
  • Send an up-to-date CV and brief agenda to the mentor at least 1 week before the meeting

The mentor should:

  • Read the mentee’s CV and agenda before the meeting
  • Send the mentee a copy of their own CV for information

During the meeting, the mentee and mentor should complete and sign the mentoring agreement. The mentee and mentor should both keep a copy, and also send a copy to the Academic Board ( or send by post).

Key issues which should be discussed include:

  • Objectives and boundaries of the mentoring relationship
  • Key areas identified by the mentee for guidance/support
  • Duration of the mentoring relationship, if known (or when this will be reviewed)
  • Potential conflicts of interest (e.g. mentor’s involvement with a funding body or interview panels)

Subsequent meetings

The frequency and format of subsequent meetings will depend on the mentor and mentee. Meetings should be recorded using the mentorship log, which should be sent to the Academic Board annually ( or send by post). This will allow the Academic Board to audit and evaluate the scheme, and also provide an update on which mentoring relationships are active to enable appropriate allocation of mentors to future trainees.

Mentoring resources

For information about available mentors, see the list of mentors for academic trainees.

Please also see the information about how academic trainees are represented within the RCOG.

Elsewhere on the site