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Mentor network

MENTOR : Marine European Network for Training Of Researchers Premier centres of marine research (hereinafter called the Centres) located in Bergen (Norway), Bremen (Germany), Brest (France), Kiel (Germany), and Southampton (United Kingdom) intend to collaborate in order to create a Marine European Network for Training Of Researchers (MENTOR).


The principal goal of the Marine European Network for Training Of Researchers (hereinafter called the Network or MENTOR) is to establish a network of education and research through lose cooperation between European post-graduate Schools in Oceanography thereby structuring existing high-quality initial research training capacity in Marine Sciences. The network will provide a central hub or portal for the premier laboratories / institutes / universities in the field of marine sciences and hence a multidisciplinary European network with global visibility.


The following added value will be provided by the Network:

  • Enhanced access of PhD students / researchers to the laboratories and experimental facilities of the Centres,
  • Improved research collaboration between participating Centres through doctoral training for the benefit of both PhD students and other scientists,
  • Enhanced visibility of the partner universities and institutions for applicants to doctoral research,
  • Improvement of skills acquired by doctoral students through access to a wide spectrum of courses, research laboratories, research facilities, summer schools, symposia, workshops and field work, including research cruises,
  • Greater attraction of PhD and post-doc grants and other financial support from partner countries and European institutions,
  • Improved early-stage career perspectives for early-stage researchers,
  • Improved placement of post-docs in the Network,
  • Facilitation to award joint PhD degrees when appropriate memoranda have been signed by partner universities.

Organization and Rules

Organization and Rules of MENTOR (Marine European Network for Training Of Researchers):

  • MENTOR (the Network) is initially composed of 5 premier centres of marine research located in Bergen (Norway), Bremen (Germany), Brest (France), Kiel (Germany), and Southampton (United Kingdom).
  • Each Centre nominates one correspondent for the Network and provides a single point of entry (e-mail address) for correspondence.
  • The Network is coordinated by a Steering Committee (SC) with one member (plus one alternate) from each Centre.


The SC meets twice a year to examine the policy and achievements of the Network and initiate future actions. Additional meetings can be convened by the SC Chair or at the request of at least two SC members.

  • Each Centre has one vote when consensus is not reached and a ballot is required for decisions taken at SC meetings.
  • Each Centre decides how many representatives it sends to SC meetings.
  • The SC Chair is elected for two years by SC members.
  • The Chair is chosen on a rotational basis among SC members.
  • The Chair is responsible for convening SC meetings.

PhD programmes

  • The identity of each PhD programme of the Network is preserved.
  • The principle of subsidiarity, along the lines of EU governance, applies.
  • PhD students / researchers pay for their dues according to the rules of the Home University in which they register and which will award their PhD degree and diploma.
  • PhD students / researchers are allowed to follow a number of courses offered by the Network outside their own University without tuition fee.
  • Course attendance is capped and preferentially reserved to students registered at the University offering the course.
  • Comprehensive core courses in marine sciences can be offered in the Network to new PhD students who have no previous background in oceanography.
  • PhD students / researchers can attend MENTOR research workshops / symposia without paying registration fees and, subject to availability, other research workshops or symposia offered by Centres of the Network at the same costs as local participants.
  • Home institutions cover all travel and living expenses.
  • PhD students / researchers have access to laboratory facilities, research opportunities, research cruises, and field trips in the Network pending prior agreement between their thesis advisors and PIs in the host Centre.
  • All PhD students in the Network are encouraged to spend at least 3 months out of their 36 months of thesis work in partner laboratories / research groups, outside of their permanent laboratory / research group, in order to enhance international cooperation and improve their expertise.
  • MENTOR and the partner Centres will actively search for the necessary mobility funds.
  • The announcements include a short description of the research environment and identification of advisor(s) and a link for application.
  • The list of PhD topics can be updated at any time by each Centre.
  • MENTOR shall keep an inventory of all PhD students’ / researchers’ applications made to the Centres through the Network.
  • Each Centre shall inform MENTOR how many applications it received as a consequence of MENTOR's existence.
  • MENTOR shall also keep an inventory of the mobility of PIs and advisors in the Network.
  • Mobility of all researchers and common actions will be used as a measure of the success of the Network.

The possibilities of improving the curriculum of a young researcher through MENTOR are numerous and not limited to the examples above. The Steering Committee will be responsible for promoting new initiatives in the Network.

Amendments and expirations

The Memorandum of Understanding shall become effective on the date of the final signing and will be renewed every 5 years upon mutual consent of the Centres. The Memorandum may be amended or further developed by means of common written consent on the part of the signatories or their designated representatives.

MENTOR includes the following (initial) partners in the five Centres:

Bergen (Norway):

  • Universitetet i Bergen / University of Bergen (UiB)
  • Havforskningsinstituttet / Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
  • Nasjonalt institutt for ernærings- og sjømatforskning / National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES)
  • The Nansen Environmental and Centre for Remote Sensing Center (NERSC)
  • Christian Michelsen Research AS (CMR)
  • Norges Handelshøyskole / Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH)

Bremen (Germany):

  • Universität Bremen / University of Bremen (UniHB)
  • Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenökologie / Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, Bremen (ZMT)
  • Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft / Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven (AWI)

Brest (France) :

  • Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO)
  • Ecole Doctorale des Sciences de la Mer at Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer

(EDSM at IUEM) based on laboratories / research groups from the following
institutions / research centres:
Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM)
Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER) Centre de
Agrocampus Rennes
Ecole Navale Brest
Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine (SHOM) Brest
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) Brest

Kiel (Germany):

  • Christian-Albrechts-Universität (CAU)
  • Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften / Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFMGEOMAR)

Southampton (United Kingdom):

  • University of Southampton
  • National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS)

The list above is not exclusive and MENTOR can be extended to additional Centres and partners.

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