Introducing the Knowledge Translation (KT) mentoring scheme
During the development of Cochrane’s Knowledge Translation framework, mentorship was suggested as a way for people working on KT projects or activities within Cochrane to learn from others with existing expertise and experience. Cochrane has recently piloted a KT mentoring scheme and the results are available.
We are currently planning the next cohort of our mentoring programme. Details of how to apply as a mentor or mentee will be available from September 2020.
What is the purpose of the mentoring scheme?
The mentoring scheme will connect people who are planning or running a KT project or activity within Cochrane (mentees) with people who have experience and knowledge of delivering KT activities or projects (mentors). Mentors will support their mentee in building their KT skills and expertise, and guide them in their activity or delivering their project.
Through a series of conversations with a mentor over a period of about six months, the aim is that the scheme will support the growth of the mentee’s KT skills and increase their confidence in delivering KT-related work.
Who is the scheme for?
Anyone in Cochrane who has a role in a specific KT project or activity running will be eligible to apply to the scheme as a mentee.
Examples of KT activities include, but are not limited to:
- developing a KT strategy for your Cochrane group;
- identifying key stakeholders and developing strategic partnership with them;
- running a prioritisation process;
- creating programmes for building capacity in target audiences to use Cochrane evidence;
- developing and implementing a plan to produce user-friendly summaries of reviews in different languages.
If your application is succesful, we will match you with a mentor based on the type of KT activity or project you are undertaking. We will also to try to match you with someone who speaks your preferred language and is in a compatible timezone. You will arrange with your mentor to meet for approximately 60 to 90 minutes per month.
Mentors can be from inside or outside of Cochrane and will volunteer their time and expertise for 60 to 90 minutes mentoring per month. Mentors will have experience of delivering KT projects and activities; however, they do not have to have expertise across all areas of knowledge translation. During the application process, potential mentors will be asked to say which areas they would be happy to mentor in. An optional online training session on mentoring skills will be available for those mentors who feel they would benefit from this, delivered before the pilot begins.
How will the scheme work?
People interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee will be asked to complete online application forms.
We will use the applications to match mentors and mentees based on the type of KT work, language and time zone of the people involved. Once matched, mentors and mentees will each receive an information pack about the scheme, including advice on how the mentoring should run, where to get support, and your mentor / mentee contact information. It will be down to individual pairs of mentors and mentees to initiate contact and plan their sessions together.
It’s likely that most mentoring will take place virtually; in other words, it will be through an online video conferencing platform such as Skype or Zoom. The mentor and mentee will arrange a time to talk for 60 to 90 minutes per month, and the scheme will run for about six months.
The mentor and mentee will talk through the KT activity/project, including parts which are proving difficult, and the mentor will use their experience to provide advice, suggestions and guidance based on their expertise of delivering similar projects.
We will evaluate the pilot mentoring scheme to investigate how people found the mentoring experience, how smooth the process was for them, and how we can improve future mentoring activities across Cochrane.
When is this happening?
Details of the timelines for recruiting the next cohort will be available from September 2020.
If you have any questions about the scheme, please contact Karen Head (Cochrane's KT Project Manager).
We would like to acknowledge the invaluable support this project has received from Lindsay Coomer (Mentoring Lead, University of York, UK) who provided guidance on running this mentoring pilot, and generously shared material to be adapted for our purposes.