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Faculty Mentor Responsibilities and Resources


Role modeling and supervision during formative years are critical to success. Therefore, OSR encourages a close working relationship between the student and faculty research mentor. Students receive instruction regarding best practices for mentor-mentee relationships in the Responsible Conduct of Research Course offered during the first year of medical school. In order to ensure and support high quality research mentorship, the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI) offers formal mentor training annually. In addition, the OSR directs all mentors to the “Optimizing the Practice of Mentoring,” an open source online curriculum offered by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Minnesota.

The below list is not intended to be all inclusive but, rather, presents the most critical responsibilities.

Specific Responsibilities of Mentors

  1. Faculty members should adhere to high standards of ethical and professional conduct and follow all institutional policies and procedures.
  2. The faculty mentor should orient the student to a feasible question that can be addressed within the available time. This usually requires multiple meetings with the student, culminating in a project and protocol. Where relevant, HIC applications and requests for data (including JDAT) should be submitted well in advance of the research period to avoid delays.
  3. With guidance from the faculty mentor, the student should develop their own project (although others may participate) and should eventually be encouraged by the faculty mentor to be first author on abstracts and publications. .
  4. The student should not be assigned as a research technician to accomplish someone else’s project in the lab, as a clinical research assistant on a clinical trial, or to duties lacking pedagogical merit.
  5. The faculty mentor should invest sufficient time in the student, including being available for weekly meetings to discuss results and, where necessary, help to focus the direction of the project. When weekly meetings are not feasible, the mentor should ensure that the student is receiving adequate supervision and guidance to maintain satisfactory progress on the research project.
  6. The faculty mentor is responsible for all research expenses (i.e. space and resources such as supplies, data sets, analytic software, research participant reimbursement, etc) and the supervision of the student’s work.
  7. The faculty member is responsible for assurance of compliance with all relevant research regulations and data security procedures, as well as for arranging student’s research access to the electronic medical record and other data resources.
  8. The faculty mentor must review, approve and sign the application for funding prior to submission to the Department Thesis Chair.
  9. In the case of the medical student thesis, the faculty mentor is the first reviewer and provides the initial approval of the thesis as submitted for graduation. (For more information see " Thesis Approval Process")
  10. The faculty mentor should plan to attend Student Research Day activities which will be held annually in May.


The YSM research requirement ensures that students learn research skills such as how to identify knowledge gaps, formulate questions, design and execute an investigative approach, analyze data, summarize results, and present one’s work to communities of interest. An important feature of the YSM research curriculum is the formal instruction students receive in the first year to successfully launch them on the path of acquiring and practicing these essential skills.

Fall through Spring of first year: Scientific Inquiry

The goal of the Scientific Inquiry curriculum is to initiate students to the four- to five-year journey of learning, observing, and practicing the skills required to conduct research related to health and medicine. Specifically, first-year students will receive instruction regarding the YSM thesis requirement as well as preparation and support for research projects that will take place during the summer between their first and second years. The curriculum is led by physician scientists and clinician investigators with successful research programs who also serve as role models and mentors to students as they begin to envision their future careers. There are 7 sessions within the first year dedicated to formal support of project development, mentor selection, and proposal writing for funded summer studies.

For the full syllabus, please contact the Office of Student Research at

Summer after first year: Applied Principles of Research

The purpose of this intensive 9-day course is to expand upon the foundation methods of high-quality research introduced in “Scientific Inquiry” to include practical methods of conducting mentored research and developing as a physician-scientist. Sessions will include talks by senior research faculty, practical topics on developing and disseminating your research and “research-in-progress” sessions to provide student opportunities to receive feedback on their summer projects. Participation is not mandatory but is highly encouraged.

For the full syllabus, please contact the Office of Student Research at

External Funding Opportunities

The Office of Student Research maintains information about relevant external funding opportunities to support medical student research.