Mentoring: Key to Building the Pipeline of Addiction Researchers

Mentoring is an important component of training for a research career, and access to mentoring is critical for nurturing the pipeline of individuals who are training for careers in biomedical and behavioral research.  

NIDA’s research career training programs are designed to grow the workforce for research related to substance use and addiction.  Mentoring is a component in NIDA’s Early-Career Awards, which support trainees at various levels.  Other relevant funding opportunities from NIDA are available through:

NIH Funding Opportunities

A useful publication called Mentoring: A Guide for Drug Abuse Researchers is available on the NIDA website.  The NIDA Mentoring Mosaic is a description of the different combinations of mentors that can be put together for mentoring in different disciplines or skills as needed for a successful productive mentoring experience.  A mosaic is typically constructed such that a mentee works with mentors in separate but complementary ways.  Members of the mentoring mosaic may work with the mentee in different roles, such as a "research mentor" and a "career mentor," or they may mentor on different aspects of a research project.

Current literature highlights the importance of mentoring.  A useful article applied the NIDA Mentoring Mosaic and found that mentoring was associated with positive outcomes such as improved understanding of career trajectories and improved student experience.  This article demonstrates the value of mentoring for undergraduate life science researchers: the highest gains in thinking and working like a scientist are seen among undergraduates who have mentoring support from postgraduates and faculty.  Another article outlines the foundational role of mentoring in interdisciplinary team science. 

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Additional Resources

  • The NIH Training Center compiled some practical resources that can be used to help mentors and mentees define their relationship and prepare for meetings. 
  • An article on Creating Effective Career Development Programs provides guidelines for effective career development programs for the clinical and translational science workforce.
  • A Mentoring Handbook prepared by the University at Albany provides resources for mentoring in an academic context.
  • Easy-to-use mentoring resources are available on the University of Kansas website.