Mentor Dr Chiara Marletto, left, and her mentee Dr Zuzana Coculova, right

Mentor Dr Chiara Marletto, left, and her mentee Dr Zuzana Coculova, right

Why mentoring matters

Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics
Atomic and Laser Physics
Condensed Matter Physics
Particle Physics
Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics

The Department of Physics’ mentoring programme, aimed particularly at early career researchers, provides both mentors and mentees alike with a range of opportunities and positively benefits all those involved. We meet mentor Dr Chiara Marletto and her mentee Dr Zuzana Coculova to find out more.

ZC: I signed up for the mentoring programme as soon as I found out about it. Mentees can search a database of all those who have volunteered to be a mentor and we can choose up to 4 people as possible ‘matches’. I actually only put down Chiara as I knew of her already and loved her work. Even though we are affiliated with different sub-departments and work in different fields, there is still overlap and synergy in what we are doing and Chiara is somebody I admire and respect.

Chiara and I have set up monthly calls which works for both of us and while in theory, there is nothing to stop us from talking anyway, the mentoring programme legitimises it and, probably more importantly, prioritises it. We log our calls using the programme software and we also have the support of the mentoring coordinator should we need it.

For me, there are myriad benefits. I identify specific topics or queries to discuss on each call – it might be a detail of my current research, a question about how a particular application works or something a little broader about career direction – and this way I maximise our time. I find our discussions very inspiring and motivating; it is invaluable to have another opinion and perspective. I really appreciate having the additional support and I feel more confident having had a second opinion on my work.

CM: The mentoring programme appealed to me straight away as it was a more structured and formal way to do what I was already doing with my immediate colleagues. I have had my share of people helping and guiding me so it is nice to pay it forward. On a practical note, the programme is really well thought out and allows for the flexibility of finding a rhythm to suit both of us while adding a layer of accountability to make sure we are consistent. It can really be tailored to suit the needs of the two people involved.

I can offer support with many different things from writing grant applications to what to expect from supervising a student. It is also a way of broadening networks and it is entirely feasible that a mentee could become a possible future collaborator. It is incredibly rewarding and I am really pleased I signed up.

Find out more

Mentoring Coordinators for the Department of Physics, Jenny Woods and Nicole Malloy, will be holding drop-in sessions throughout February 2024 for postdocs and early career researchers interested in finding out more.

The informal, drop-in sessions will take place on the following dates:
7 February 2024, 2-3pm, DWB Common Room
14 February 2024, 2-3pm, Clarendon Common Room
22 February 2024, 10-11am, online
29 February 2024, 10-11am, online

You can read more about mentoring opportunities for all staff at and get in touch via