Objective This study aims to (1) assess the perceived need for a postdoctoral (post-doc) mentoring programme in rheumatology, (2) describe the characteristics and organisational aspects of a pilot mentoring programme implemented by the EMerging European League Against Rheumatism NETwork (EMEUNET) and (3) report mentors' and mentees' evaluation of the pilot programme. Methods An online survey was conducted among young researchers in rheumatology to evaluate the need and preferred characteristics of a post-doc mentoring initiative. Informed by the survey, a pilot programme was designed and launched. The pilot programme was evaluated with 3-month, 6-moth and 12-month surveys and interviews with mentees and a 12-month survey among mentors, after completion. Results From 275 responses (43 countries, 86% from Europe) collected, analyses were restricted to the target population (total population=158; post-docs (n=103 (65%)) and PhD students (n=55 (35%))). There was a clear need (99% positive responses) for a post-doc mentoring programme. Discussions about current and new projects, and how to lead projects were ranked as priorities in post-doc mentoring. The most desired mentor attribute was generosity and interest in helping (86%), followed by research experience (68%) and having a well-established network (66%). The pilot programme included four mentees (through competitive application) allocated to three mentors. Evaluation surveys and interviews revealed that the programme organisation and content were well appreciated by mentees and mentors. Conclusions The EMEUNET post-doc mentoring programme addresses unmet need for mentoring, is viable and appreciated by mentors and mentees. The programme structure and content are transferable to other fields where there is need for academic career mentoring.
- career development
- post-doctoral researchers