Statistical mentoring for Ph.D. students in the developing world

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Welcome to the international web-based tutoring programme for Ph.D students in statistics at Universities in developing countries sponsored by the International Statistical Institute and the Bernoulli Society

Statistical communities, academic and governmental, are growing in many developing countries, and statistician start playing a role in production, decision and government, from health to agriculture, from investment strategies to energy, from transport to education. But resources and infrastructure are often insufficient, and in many countries it is still difficult to learn and practice statistics. This mentoring programme is based on volunteering senior statisticians who act as mentors over the internet for Ph.D students in the developing countries, in particular in Africa, part of Asia and South America. The idea is to use the internet to create a network of support and mentoring, at individual level, for Ph.D students in statistics and probability and their applications.

We organise mentoring at distance for Ph.D students, from the moment of enrollment in a Ph.D programme after their master degree, until some years after completion of the Ph.D. Students from any African country can join the programme. Students need to have access to internet and email, at least sporadically, in their local university. Membership is free. The student will be put into contact with a professor or senior professional statistician with suitable background. The matching between student and mentor is based on information from both and will take into account some of the specificities of the student and tutor, for example language, gender, area of research. The matched pair, a student and a mentor, will have contact via email, but are unlikely to meet in person, since this programme does not provide any funding for travel. Mentoring is at distance.

Mentoring does not mean supervision. The student has a supervisor and a research plan at her/his university, following local rules and traditions. The supervisor can be kept informed of the mentoring, but this is not necessary and it is a choice of the student, not of the mentor. Mentoring does not necessary mean help with technical aspects of the research work of the student. The mentor does not take direct part in the student’s research, though occasionally this might happen.

Mentoring means:

• Finding and accessing scientific material (papers, chapters of books etc), which the tutor can email or send by post.
• Finding and accessing scientific software, which the tutor can help provide for the student.
• Suggesting appropriate reading, on the web or paper
• Suggesting journals to which the student could submit her/his papers
• Suggesting conferences, summer schools and workshop, which the student could attend, trying to see if funding can be provided by the organisers or other agencies.
• Discussing progression in the Ph.D studies, and possibly pointing to help in writing papers and making presentations
• Discussing jobs after the PhD, academic and not, helping to write an informative CV.
• If appropriate, writing letter of recommendation for jobs.
• Occasionally, help solving problems related to the thesis, in collaboration with the supervisor. Note that the mentor has no responsibilities with respect to the progression of the studies of the student.

This web site collects mentors and students. Students who wish to enter the programme will fill out a form, with details on themselves. Similarly, volunteer mentors will make themselves known also by filling out a simple form. A programme team can help in this phase (mail to: Statistical mentor project team), answering questions. They will also do the matching, consulting with and then informing both parts. In order to avoid unnecessary complications, before students are accepted in this programme, our staff will check their status as Ph.D students in statistics, by email exchange or a telephone call with the student.

If you wish to join this project as student, please fill out the student form. You must email the filled out form to Statistical mentor project team. Use one of these forms:
Student form: WORD format;
Student form pdf, which you need to fill out by hand, scan and then email;
Student form text.

If you wish to join this project as mentor, please fill out the mentor form. You must email the filled out form to Statistical mentor project team. Use one of these forms:
Mentor form WORD;
Mentor form pdf, which you need to fill out by hand, scan and then email;
Mentor form text.

We hope that many students and many mentors will join this project!

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