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Selection of a Mentor

Accessing Experts in the Field Using the CRISP Database

A good resource to use to identify experts in the substance abuse field is the Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects (CRISP) database. The NIH developed a CRISP for the purpose of providing a searchable database of funded research projects in the sciences.

These projects are supported by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Updated weekly, this database can be used to search for specific terms, principal investigator; award type; activity; grant number; grant title; Initial Review Group (IRG); institutes, centers, division; institution; fiscal year and State. Current and historical information can be accessed through a basic or advanced search.

For more information, see the CRISP database. You may find an expert using this system who is willing to assist you with your research proposal on a short- or long-term basis.

Once you have submitted your query, a listing of research grantees and the titles of their projects will appear. You will need to click on the highlighted title to obtain contact information about the principal investigator.

Accessing Experts in the Field Using the COS Database

Similar to the CRISP database, the Community of Science (COS) has created a database to help locate persons who have received funding for research grants. Developed for scientists by scientists, the goal of this database is to accelerate science and promote the visibility and funding of scientific research. COS provides information about researchers who are in high demand in biomedical research, current trends in research and development, and profiles of researchers at more than 200 universities.

For more information see the COS database. There are five databases that can be used to access information about a research grantee; after selecting one of the five, different criteria are used to search the database. You may choose to search all of the grants, recent grants, grants funded by specific Institutes, grants received by selected universities, or grants in specific States. To keep you informed, the COS database is updated weekly.

Suggestions for Selecting a Mentor

When choosing a mentor, keep a few things to in mind. Because a mentoring relationship takes time to develop, there are a number of things to consider when deciding on a prospective mentor. Remember that you may decide to have more than one mentor based on your research needs and the expertise of the senior researcher. The following items are guidelines that may help with your decision for working with a mentor(s).

  • When selecting a mentor, determine if the prospective mentor is a good listener.

  • Identify whether the person is aware of current issues in the field.

  • Does this person seem approachable?

  • Do you think you can work productively with this person?

  • Has the person ever been mentored?

  • Have they ever mentored someone?

  • How long has he or she been a researcher in that particular field?

  • Is he or she willing to work with you in advancing your research career?

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Last updated: August 12, 2003.