Mentorship has been recognised as essential for success in medical research. We describe how to make contact with the medical research community and find a mentor. Moreover, we describe how to establish a working relationship with a proficient mentor and provide answers to some of the most important questions that the novice in medical research should always ask himself before committing himself to a supervisor: What is your bid – and what is your mentor’s quid pro quo in the relationship? How do you find a field of research? How do you evaluate a potential mentor? How can you make first contact with a mentor? And what about resources? It is important that the student’s expectations regarding the mentor’s input – and vice versa – are well defined at an early stage. We advocate finding a field of research that genuinely interests you and, most importantly, where you have a proven record of your industriousness. A mentor should be evaluated on the basis of his insight and knowledge as well as the time he can spare for supervision and productivity. PubMed and Science Citation Index checks may give useful information regarding a supervisor’s publication profile; but you should also take into account someone’s reputation as a supervisor. A mentor should provide the resources needed to get started. Try to obtain an appointment with a prospective mentor and go there prepared by having read relevant information. Start contemplating the research plan once both parties decide to give it a go. It will serve as a written agreement between student and mentor.

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