Terra Sigillata

Canadian flag.jpgI’m delighted to see those $32/article access fees going to good use: Nature is accepting nominations to recognize two outstanding research mentors in Canada with cash prizes.

Since they were launched in 2005, Nature’s awards for mentoring in science have rewarded outstanding research mentors in Britain, Germany, Japan, Australia and South Africa. The competition is held within one country each year, in the belief that mentoring reflects not just notions of good scientific practice and creativity that are universal, but also scientific traditions and cultures that are, at least to a degree, national. . .

. . .This year’s competition is taking place in Canada. Two prizes of Can$10,000 (US$9,900) will be awarded, one for a mid-career mentor and one for lifetime achievement in mentoring.

As regular readers know, I love my Canadian colleagues – several of whom I consider to be excellent research mentors.

It’s pretty easy to be a crappy mentor. That’s why there are so many.

But good mentoring and career development skills takes very special people – those who acknowledge a responsibility to those who choose to train with them and who care that the accomplishments of their scientific progeny can have as much or greater impact than their own direct scientific contributions. Sadly, the quality of one’s mentoring efforts rarely figures into faculty promotion and tenure decisions. So any effort to recognize and reward outstanding research mentoring is a wonderful idea.

Nominations are being accepted through 30 June 2010 and the full details can be found at http://go.nature.com/CKbeC4.