FAQ - Mentors

Eligible mentors a full-time graduate students or interns in a STEM field at the Master’s, Doctorate, or Post-Doctorate level in Quebec.

For the first year of the project, mentors must be fluent in French. Priority will be given to mentors based in the Greater Montreal area.

Mentors are responsible for supporting and guiding a team of two or three high school or CEGEP students in their discovery of scientific research. They will monitor the progress of the research project and foster a healthy learning environment. To ensure that the mentoring program runs smoothly, mentors will have to agree to and sign a Code of Conduct before the program begins.

It is important to mention that all mentors will have to: submit to a criminal background check; agree to respect both our Code Conduct and the agreement governing each individual research project; participate in mandatory training and identify of project tasks to be completed by the student.

A mentor and their students will meet twice a week for two hours each time. During the first three weeks, you will be asked to supervise these sessions, and to take the time to present the project, the required tools, and the tasks to be completed by the students. After the first few weeks, when your students have acquired enough autonomy, you will only supervise one of these two work sessions, i.e. two hours per week.

Your commitment is essential, which is why all of our mentors will receive fair financial compensation thanks to the support of our partners. If necessary, some travel expenses may also be covered by InitiaSciences.

When you commit to becoming an InitiaSciences mentor, you will be trained to communicate and teach your research. This will allow you to effectively introduce your students to your research topic and your general research domain. In addition, our team will assist you in identifying specific research tasks for your students. Don’t worry: you don’t have to create a new research project, just identify well-defined tasks for your students to complete. We will help you define a detailed action plan to assess the feasibility of the these specific tasks, and help you reassess, if necessary, these steps throughout the project. As we all know, research does not follow a straight line!

Of course! One of our goals is provide young people with the tools to work autonomously. A period in which you are unavailable (due to article submissions, financing requests, field work, etc.) can in fact encourage your students to try new things on their own. However, to ensure that this goes off without a hitch, you will need to sufficiently train your students beforehand, and define the tasks you expect them to complete in your absence. If you are unable to physically attend the weekly mentoring meeting, you will need to offer your students an equivalent amount of time to contact you virtually (via Zoom, emails, etc.). In any case, our team is there to support you during all steps of the mentorship project. We are also graduate students, familiar with your concerns and questions, and wish to encourage the success of the project in the most healthy and fruitful way possible.

In general, we encourage only one mentor per team. This facilitates project monitoring and is true to the nature of professional research: generally, one main researcher is in charge of carrying out a project, even if often several collaborators can be involved. However, co-mentoring can be considered if each researcher is responsible for distinct and complementary aspects of the project. Co-mentoring will have repercussions on the financial compensation received by each mentor, in order to reflect the shared workload. This decision will be taken in consultation with the InitiaSciences team and mentors’ research supervisors. Please contact us if you have further questions about co-mentorship!

Yes, we require approval from your research director. Before you begin, we will require you, your research director, and your InitiaSciences project supervisor to sign a common agreement detailing the roles, responsibilities, and commitments of each person.

We want to foster the best, safest learning environment possible, both for our students in their introduction to scientific research, and for you as a mentor in your introduction to research supersion and teaching. This is one of the reasons why we will require participation in our training courses and criminal background checks for all our mentors.

Because of this, and to promote direct collaboration between mentors and their students, it is preferable that the research supervisor does not participate in weekly mentor-students work sessions and meetings.

We do recognize the value of superverisor’s extensive expertise and are grateful for their desire to help train the next generation of researchers. We therefore encourage mentors to consult with their research supervisors, if necessary, in order to clarify the framework, direction and feasibility of the project, or to obtain an expert feedback. The student should not be present for these consultations, in order to avoid any situation in which the supervisor’s position of authority would lead to decisions directly impacting the research project without prior agreement between the mentor and the InitiaSciences project monitoring team.

It is, however, possible to occasionally invite students to attend to research group meetings or conferences, outside of the 4 hours per week devoted to the project. In this case, it will be necessary to obtain prior authorization from a parent or guardian responsible for the student.

The InitiaSciences program focuses on research projects in pure or natural sciences. Our mission may expand to non-STEM fields in the future, but for the next few years, graduate students in other programs, such as humanities or arts and letters, will not be candidates for mentorship.

Other programs that already seek to provide mentorship opportunities in non-STEM fields, such as the Répertoire culture-éducation or Academos, may be of interest to you.

The InitiaSciences program is aimed towards graduate students, post-docs and high school or CEGEP students in Quebec. It is also largely funded by Quebec organizations and institutions. To participate, you may originally be from elsewhere,  but you have to be currently pursuing full-time studies or a a full-time internship in Quebec.

You can consult a complete list of our partners here.

For the first year, we will prioritize mentors from the Greater Montreal area. However, we will provide accommodations or remote options for certain specific cases. 

When applying to become a mentor, we invite you to specify this point in the Main Affiliation section. As for potential students, information about your location will be requested when you register. We will follow up with you on the options available based on the applications received.

While we hope to eventually offer a bilingual program, the English component is still being developed and the first year of the program will only be offered in French. Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram ou LinkedIn) to keep up with new developments in the program, and join our team of volunteers to speed up the process!

Yes, after access to the lab has been granted by the lab director and project supervisor, and all necessary safety training has been completed by the students. In the event that a students access to the laboratory is not possible, tasks that can be carried out outside of the lab will be considered.

Students’ safety is one of our top priorities, so mentoring projects must be carried out in the safest possible environment . 

Don’t hesitate to contact our team through the Contact Us form of our website.We’re more than happy to respond to your questions and concerns.

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