CIC energiGUNE, the Basque research center of reference in electrochemical and thermal energy storage and a member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance BRTA, has launched an innovative mentoring program for doctoral students. The program will provide each of these students with expert advice from three professionals in three critical areas of their professional development: academics, skills and experience.
The program has been designed by the General Manager of CIC energiGUNE, Nuria Gisbert, who has extensive experience in mentoring as she developed her doctoral thesis in this area and continues to collaborate in this field with the research group of the Institute of Applied Economics at the UPV/EHU. The program is also supported by Asier Urzelai, Manager of the CIC energiGUNE People Area and coordinator of the new mentoring program.
This initiative is designed to provide maximum support capacity at a crucial time in professional development. For this reason, each of the 20+ doctoral students who form part of the research center will have three different mentors: an academic mentor, an experiential mentor and a skills mentor. This approach is designed to ensure that the particularities of the most critical areas of the process of professional and personal development are addressed.
The academic mentor will supervise the doctoral thesis. His or her responsibility is to provide guidance for the mentor in those competencies linked to research excellence, enabling the doctoral student to produce first-rate scientific contributions of value for academia, industry and society. The experiential mentor will be a young colleague of the doctoral student who has recently defended his or her thesis, or has a recent research career in other centers, and who will provide the knowledge and experience to address this challenge with greater confidence. The skills mentor will be responsible for developing the doctoral students´ transversal skills, such as teamwork, proactivity, autonomy, leadership and flexibility.
More generally, the goal of this innovative initiative is to foster local research talent and help develop excellent professionals in the field of energy storage. Furthermore, through this initiative, CIC energiGUNE is looking to consolidate its position as a benchmark in the field of talent management, increasing its ability to attract the best professionals. The Center is also keen to play a key part in providing training in new professions related to the energy transition.
Commitment to professional excellence
The Mentoring program for Doctoral Students is part of CIC energiGUNE´s commitment to developing the scientific and technological talent of the new generations of doctoral students, and is part of a broader strategy aimed at maximising the qualifications of its professional team. In this sense, mention must be made of the fact that in 2019, the Center was awarded the HR Excellence in Research Certificate by the European Commission, in recognition of its excellence in attracting and developing talent dedicated to research, as well as its position as an organisation that generates and supports the creation of a stimulating and favourable environment for research work.
This commitment is also reflected in the center´s support for the Inspira STEAM initiative, led by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Deusto, to promote scientific and technological career studies among girls and young women. To this end, CIC energiGUNE has assigned four female researchers to the team of mentors set up to conduct different awareness raising and guidance activities in schools during the academic year.
Mentoring, a professional and personal development practice within the field of human resources, is a perfect match for CIC energiGUNE and its commitment to people development. In mentoring, the mentor is a more experienced professional who guides the mentee along the paths of his or her professional life, accelerating the learning curve. Thanks to this practice, the mentor acquires cross-cutting professional skills. In the field of science and technology, mentoring also helps mentors to expand their portfolio of technological and scientific competencies. Mentoring is a shared experience in which both mentor and mentee learn from, and can contribute to the development of, each other.