Your Digital Mentor Podcast

The Wellcome Connecting Science ‘Your Digital Mentor Podcast’ is a free series, delivered as part of a collaborative project between the Wellcome Connecting Science Courses and Conferences team and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Mentorship is a learned skill that can benefit many early career scientists, but access to such support is not always accessible to everyone – especially in low and middle-income countries.

Your Digital Mentor Podcast explores topics around mentoring and career development, tackling the challenges through real stories and honest discussions from experts guests across the world. These conversation offer valuable advice and information that’s freely accessible to everyone, demonstrating the importance of great mentoring to a community.

Season two launches on 18 August, with a new emphasis on skills development, covering topics, including: scientific writing, communication, entrepreneurship, leadership, and research culture.

If you have any questions or queries about the series, you can contact the podcast team here.

Find out what mentoring means to our podcast team:


Guests: Willy Lescano and Alena Pance

Episode Description:

This special episode in Spanish sees our guest Host, Anna Protasio interview Willy Lescano and Alena Pance on what mentoring is and how to establish and maintain a good and productive mentorship relationship.


Guest: Professor Jeffrey McDonnell

Episode Description:

In the first episode of season two we explore how to become successful at scientific writing, to help elevate your career.

We interview Prof. Jeffrey McDonnell, author of “Navigating an Academic Career: A Brief Guide for PhD Students, Postdocs and Early Career Faculty” on writing skills.
We cover how and when to find the time to write and how this impacts your research career.


Guests: Dr. Claire Chewapreecha and Dr. Kate Baker

Episode Description:

In episode two, the second of the Skills Lab series, we catch up with Dr. Claire Chewapreecha and Dr. Kate Baker for top tips on effective communication and presentation skills. We also find out how they have both adapted to the new zoom environment, and how this has changed their approach to presentations.


Guests: Dr. Marcia Philbin and Dr. Stephen Baker

Episode Description:

Leadership might be fulfilling, but it is not easy! Our guests Marcia Philbin and Stephen Baker talk about some of the challenges they face as leaders and what skills and factors helped them succeed.


Guests: Dr. Arporn Wangwiwatsin and Dr. Monica Abrudan

Episode Description:

Researchers and scientists are doing great and impactful work that can change lives. But are people really aware or understand their work? How can we engage with people outside our scientific spheres?

In this episode, our guests share their strategies and experience on how to communicate your science to the public. Whether it’s through “beer and science” or through a future flash mob…, there is a method for every scientist willing to step outside of their comfort zone.


Guests: Dr. Jenny Molly, Dr. Simon Travers, and Dr. Douglas Sanyahumbi

Episode Description:

Sometimes publishing a paper that has the potential to impact might not be enough. You are driven to change: “potential” to “is” (Simon Travers). Scientists and researchers can create living products/businesses that have value and address key needs in the lives of others. We learn from Jenny, Simon, and Douglas about the how of this process.

They share their experiences initiating, supporting, and leading different companies, businesses, and projects, across the globe. They discuss how they navigate the murky waters of leading start-up companies, navigating politics around patents, seeking support, guidance, and resources, and challenges associated with the different aspects of being scientists and entrepreneurs.


Guests: Professor Nicole Soranzo and Dr. Darren Logan

Episode Description:

If you are indecisive about a career path in industry or in academia, or intrigued by skills, traits and passions required for each, this episode is for you!

Our guests talk about the pros and cons of careers in industry and academia, and talk through some beneficial tips on how to be successful in each environment.


Guests: Dr Nicki Tiffin and Dr Jennifer Gardy 

Episode Description:

The pressure to win a grant and chasing the next funding source is stressful for all researchers. Besides, finding success in funding often requires sacrificing private time and overcoming the frustrations about being rejected.

In this episode, we asked our guests, Dr. Nicki Tiffin and Dr. Jennifer Gardy, what key skills to have and develop to apply for grant funding. Join us and listen to our guests’ experiences of how funding opportunities impacted their careers, how they took the step to launch their research independently and how they stayed motivated to achieve it.


Guests: Dr Daniela Robles-Espinoza and Dr Brighton Samatanga

Episode Description:

Researchers are moving to other countries for different reasons, such as building a career, lack of funding, lack of mentoring. However, many face a dilemma between returning home, transferring knowledge and skills to local research, or staying. So when is the right time to return home? And when you get home, how do you prepare for the challenges around settling down?

We asked our guests Daniela and Brighton about their own experiences; why they decided to go back and what motivated them to overcome the challenges and commit to strengthening the research in their home regions.


Guests: Dr Orli Bahcall and Dr Seye Abimbola

Episode Description:

Explore the challenging world of journal publishing through inside stories from two editors-in-chief. Gain insight into the pitfalls and how to overcome them, with tips from leading experts in the field of scientific research publishing.


Guests: Dr Avila Montes, Dr Nadira Karunaweera, and Dr Rashad Abdul-Ghani

Episode Description:

How can engaging in mentorship support and mobilise a successful global research career?

In this special episode, you will hear from seasoned researchers from the TDR Global 2020 Career Impact Contest. Through their experience and insights, you will discover the value of developing strong mentor/mentee bonds for obtaining access to skills development opportunities, and for career progression.

Listen as they pay forward advice on:

  • Career pathways and the value of mentorship
  • How mentorship led to learning, training, and research collaboration opportunities
  • The challenges they tackled along the way, and how mentorship gave them the strength to overcome these barriers.


You can listen to all our season one episodes on Simplecast.


Delivered as part of a collaborative project between:

With thanks to our media partners: 

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