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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.

A close working relationship between the student and faculty research mentor is a major goal of this program and is strongly encouraged. When laboratory research is performed, it is the responsibility of the faculty advisor to provide all necessary space, equipment and supplies, including costs of publication of scientific articles. For non-laboratory investigation, the same commitment to guidance and support is expected, including but not limited to data access, statistical analysis packages, statistical and methodological support, abstract and publication costs, etc. Weekly conferences between student and advisor are encouraged during the course of the research. It is important to note that, where practicable, the research must be designed and specifically performed by the student with the advice of the faculty mentor. Medical students may not solely fulfill research duties expected of a research coordinator or laboratory technician absent of independent scholarly contributions. They may also not work jointly on a research project. If a faculty member chooses to mentor several students concurrently, each student should receive equal support and attention. Specific components of the summer and thesis research programs are offered in the Scientific Inquiry Course during the first year of medical school.