The National Academy of Sciences defines a mentor as someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional.
Young scientists look to mentors to make a commitment to their education, appropriately delegate responsibilities, review and appraise performance, provide fair attribution of accomplishments and authorship, and offer career guidance. More importantly, mentors play a central role in setting the standard for the responsible conduct of research not only by what they teach but also by their own conduct.
Successful mentoring relationships are characterized by professional courtesy and trust. Formalized guidance on mentor-trainee relationships has been developed by the National Academy of Sciences. Internally, the Office of Postdoc Affairs can assist in hiring, advocacy and training.
The NIH Roadmap and recent high profile, interdisciplinary cooperative agreements have increased the importance of establishing effective scientific collaborations. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute has fostered interdisciplinary collaboration by forming Research Affinity Groups and Centers of Emphasis. These movements reflect the realization that collaborative approaches from diverse teams are required to solve the complex problems facing biomedical science.
Collaboration affords many advantages to researchers. Combining talents, technology and resources enables investigators to ask more powerful questions that generate findings with broader impact. Successful collaborations have the potential to propel existing fields forward or open up new fields of study.
Collaboration can take many forms and range from simple to complex. Many require formal documentation to protect intellectual property or the right to publish. All effective collaborations begin with a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and documentation of agreements around sharing of data, study goals, publication and authorship, intellectual property and ownership, and financial management. Even when collaborating with our Penn neighbors, CHOP Research investigators are advised to work with the Office of Technology Transfer to complete any required contracts or agreements before proceeding.
Ask the Experts
Wendy Williams, Ph.D.
Office of Postdoc Affairs
Ellen Purpus, Ph.D.
Office of Technology Transfer
« Back to "Mentoring and Scientific Collaboration"
CHOP Research Resources
- Responsible Departments: Office of Postdoc Affairs, Office of Technology Transfer
- Centers of Emphasis at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute
- Research Affinity Groups at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute
- National Academy of Science – On Being a Mentor
- Guidelines for Negotiating Scientific Collaboration
- Making Collaborations Work