Guideline One: Be available

1. Be available to meet with each researcher under your care as frequently as is needed

"George meets with his students very regularly and is always available to them. I cannot remember him ever cancelling an appointment with me despite the tremendous demands on his time (he was Head of Department for some of the time that I was his student). He reads drafts promptly and provides clear, constructive comments. He is never negative and never belittles even the most junior of students."

"Firstly, Julia's door is always open, even now in her retirement she can never say “come back later”.  I now greatly admire this skill for I find myself struggling with administration and feeling guilty in making appointments to see students.  Julia always put scientific discussion first.

"Undoubtedly the greatest attribute of Charles's mentorship style is his accessibility. Rarely in the 6 years I was in his laboratory did I note him not to have an open door to discuss recent results with anyone from within, or indeed from outside, her/his laboratory. This availability combined with Charles's approachable attitude resulted in a mentor that you were not afraid to speak to, with whatever result you had in hand be it positive or negative. Even after leaving his laboratory I founds his door was always open to discuss scientific ideas." 

This is the tough one. By far the most common attribute spoken of by the mentees was the availability of their mentor. They spoke of the open-door policy of their supervisors, of rapid responses to emails, always being there to talk about problems, to inspire and give advice. In our hearts, we know how important this is but how hard it is to maintain. As mentioned later, group meetings are important but we must make a regular time slot to meet with all our graduate students, postdocs and research assistants for 30 minutes minimum each week or two weeks. Life is busy but no excuses. No last minute cancellations. If we can't do it, should we be supervising? Of all the tips in this paper this is the one we have to adhere to. Do you?

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