Guideline Eleven | Create networks

11. Create beneficial networks that create career opportunities now and in the future

"An important catalyst for many of us was Rene’s attitude to networking – he endeavored to send all his students and postdocs to good scientific meetings because he realized how important it was for us to start making connections with peers in our field early in our careers. Right from the start we were exhorted to take every opportunity to talk to people because it was a strongly held opinion of his that you learnt just as much at breakfast conversations and in post-conference drinks as you did from the presentations themselves.  It was not uncommon to hear that he had lobbied for an opportunity for a postdoc to speak at a conference rather than doing so himself because he recognized the value of becoming known, especially given our distance from North America and Europe." 
 
"Elizabeth has maintained contact with her previous students and is quick to make links between the many people she knows and any project that comes under her discussion. She encourages collaboration and would very quickly point to potential collaborators. Liz also would be quick to include students in on social occasions with high profile scientists visiting the university. This allowed students to get to know the scientists, and vice versa, and again served as a time when students could voice their thoughts and ideas to very knowledgeable and experienced researchers." 

One of the best things we can do for our PhD students is create and share our networks for the benefit of their careers. Again this was a universal characteristic of all the great mentors. Using their contacts to promote their students and young staff. Other tips referred to, were to insist that our students get time to travel to overseas labs and conferences and link in with our networks. Universities need to put many more resources into allowing their graduate students to travel. This not only leads to better outcomes for the student but has immense reputational benefit for the institution. Another behaviour of a good supervisor is that when a distinguished scientist comes to visit the School they, not only introduce them, but also give them an opportunity to present or discuss their work. Often this is more valuable then having the students simply listen to a seminar by the great woman/man. 

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