Smith Fellows

Smith Mentors

The "mentoring team" is a critical component of the Smith Fellows Program, and a feature that distinguishes it from all other sources of postdoctoral funding. Each applicant proposes a team of at least two mentors to work closely with them during their Fellowship including: providing an ‘institutional home’ for the Fellow, helping with research design, connecting the Fellow and their research to practical applications, supporting the Fellow’s professional development as a conservation scientist, and helping to build research skills, collaborations, and networks.  At least one of the mentors should have a primary focus on conservation practice and will help connect the Fellow’s research to practical applications and provide insight into the management and policy implications of the work. Members of the team also help the Fellow understand better the institutional languages and cultures of their respective organizations. It is critical to recognize that the Smith Fellowship is awarded to the Fellow, not to the mentor or the administrative host. We expect that Smith Fellows and their future research will be literally transformed by their postdoctoral experience in the pragmatic fast-paced world of on-the-ground conservation. Mentors are expected to be an active part of the proposed research plan and to meet with Fellows regularly to help shape and guide the work.

Goals for the Fellow-Mentor Team:

  • Primary role is to help the Fellow be highly successful.
  • Bring together academic and practical/applied aspects of Fellow’s research.
  • Reinforce the dynamic mix of research and application.

Academic and Practioner Mentor(s) should:

  • Complete a mutually agreed upon mentorship plan that includes frequency of meetings and expectations for conduct.
  • Attend the initial orientation session.
  • Ensure the scholarly integrity of the research.
  • Participate with the Fellow in framing specific research question(s) and methods.
  • Semi-annually review the Fellow’s research progress.
  • Review the Fellow’s progress and final reports. Supervise Fellow’s preparation of final reports and papers.
  • Insure practical/applied nature of the Fellow’s project.
  • Help the Fellow think through and establish how their research project will produce practical results and/orinfluence and inform policy.
  • Facilitate establishment of a strong working relationship between the Fellow and associate/partnerorganizations.
  • Assist the Fellow in obtaining resources, equipment, office/laboratory space and resources from associate/partner organizations.