Mentorship between young researchers widens network and provides support

Being part of a peer mentoring network gives DCAcademy grant recipients good support throughout their project period and access to a large network.

Katja Michler, UCPH, Nicolai Bjødstrup Palstrøm, SDU, Maria Sofia Espejo, AU, Pauline Kromann Reim, UCPH, Sandra Hummelgaard, AU. Photo: Lars Kruse

When receiving a grant from DCAcademy, networking possibilities goes along with financial support. Thus, grant recipients can choose to join a peer mentoring network through DCAcademy’s Peer Mentorship Programme. The network should provide support throughout the project period for involved peers.

Being from different universities is a strength

“Admittedly, I was in doubt if a mentoring group would contribute to my research. But the group has been very valuable, as we all contribute with our different experiences. I am extremely happy to be part of it,” says Katja Michler, PhD student, University of Copenhagen.

She has joined a mentoring network with both postdoctoral fellows and PhD students across Denmark.

The group meets every month and apart from Katja Michler, Nicolai Bjødstrup Palstrøm, University of Southern Denmark, Pauline Kromann Reim, University of Copenhagen, Sandra Hummelgaard and Maria Sofia Espejo from Aarhus University are also part of the group.

“We are from different universities which I really think is a strength. Sometimes it is easier to discuss matters with a person who is not a close colleague or your boss.”  says Katja Michler.

Fellow peers give support and good advice

Group members perform everything from basic to translational and clinical research.

“Although our projects are very different from one another, we complement each other very well. Many things are universal when you perform research,” says Nicolai Bjødstrup Palstrøm, PhD student, University of Southern Denmark.

When the group gather on  Zoom or in real life, everyone gives a status on their project. Fellow peers give support and good advice if anyone experiences challenges. Subjects such as communication with your supervisor, how to get permission to clinical trials or how to sequence a list of authors are discussed. 

Access to a large network

Geographically and scientifically, the peer mentoring network covers a large area. But this seems to be just another advantage.

“We are widely spread throughout research fields and research groups – and thereby my access to cooperation and other projects has increased,” says Katja Michler.

Nicolai Bjødstrup Palstrøm shares that notion and sees opportunities even further ahead:

 “Maybe our job opportunities are even greater after a PhD as we altogether have a huge network that can benefit our careers.”

He continues:

“I see this group as being of great value to everyone and hence I am sure it will continue to be a success.”