ELIXIR LEadership And Diversity mentoring programme - ELEAD Pilot

In STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), women are taking on less leadership positions than men for a variety of reasons, amongst others the lack of active sponsorship for women that creates visibility and supports promotion. 

The “B4W - ELIXIR LEadership And Diversity mentoring programme (ELEAD)” aims to empower women in the ELIXIR middle management (NoC, TE, TrC, ExCos, Focus Group Leads, Community Leads, Task Leads, Activity Managers) to become mindful leaders and support them in their career growth. ELEAD objectives will be achieved by:

  • setting up a mentoring schema, pairing middle management mentees with senior mentors from ELIXIR and its extended network
  • offering professional training
  • providiong guidance in key leadership skills.

ELEAD aims to increase the overall presence of senior female scientists within ELIXIR and beyond as leaders in front-line research. It builds from previous experience at ELIXIR-ES with the Bioinfo4Women programme (B4W).

This strategic implementation study is used as a “pilot” to feed the content of the ELEAD programme. The experience and results achieved should bring valuable input for the  continuation of ELEAD within the framework of the upcoming ELIXIR 2024-2028 programme.

ELEAD roadmap

ELEAD programme structure - important dates

28 April 2023 Deadline for mentees’ expression of interest to participate in the programme.
8 May 2023 Announcement of selected mentees for the pilot programme.
(date TBC) May 2023 Announcement of mentor-mentee pairs, and start of their remote one-to-one sessions.
(date TBC) May 2023 Training session I - Introduction for mentees (online).
4 June 2023 Networking dinner with selected mentees and programme organisers.
5 June 2023 Training session II - Peer mentoring session amongst mentees before All Hands Meeting, facilitated by a professional coach (3 hours, face-to-face in Dublin).
4 July 2023 Training session III - Resilience & Well-being in Academia (3 hours, online).
18 & 25 September 2023 Training session IV - Self-esteem and self-leadership (3 hours each, online).
6 October 2023 Training session V - Unconscious bias, Gender, and Inclusive Leadership (3 hours, online).
24 & 25 October 2023 Training session VI - Communication for Future Leaders (half day) and Toolbox for Inclusive Leaders (full day). Face-to-face in Barcelona.
December 2024 End of the ELEAD pilot programme.

Link to guidelines: Coming up soon.

How to get involved in the ELEAD programme?

The ELEAD programme’s core are the one-to-one mentoring sessions. If you are interested in becoming a Mentee or Mentor, simply fill in the corresponding form below by 28 April 2023.

The content of the mentee and mentor conversations is confidential. This means that both parts need to clarify between themselves what information can be shared elsewhere and what remains private. Programme organisers and trainers do not participate in such one-to-one conversations. 

Link to mentee expression of interest form (this information will be kept internal to the programme participants unless explicitly requested and approved): https://bsc3.typeform.com/ELEADmentees.

Mentors are selected by ELEAD organisers, with feedback from HoNs.

Benefits for mentors

Career development and networking: ELEAD will provide professional training helping to boost their mentoring, relationship building, and leadership skills. Further, mentors will broaden their professional network by meeting leading specialists from different institutions, and strengthen their connection with ELIXIR as a whole, contributing to a key aspect of its growth.

Personal satisfaction: alongside the increased satisfaction of helping others, mentoring also offers the chance to put something back into the research system through the imparting of expertise and specialist knowledge and skills. In ELEAD, mentors are specifically supporting a much-needed change to increase diversity within the bioinformatics ecosystem leadership in Europe.

Increased role profile: participation on the mentoring scheme will provide a higher profile for the respective institutions increasing their attractiveness and thereby the potential to recruit high profile professionals and future leaders.

Benefits for mentees

Career development: the training programme for ELEAD mentees has been designed to provide skills which are rarely taught and exercised, and which are essential to future leaders that share the ELIXIR values. These will be delivered by professionals and will include space for interaction between mentees, to learn together and share their experiences.

Greater self-awareness: mentoring aims to build self-confidence and self-esteem by exploring the mentees’ awareness of their knowledge, skills, abilities and aptitudes - Recognize what it takes to be a successful female leader in ELIXIR! 

Broaden horizons: by sharing ideas with a mentor, mentees will be able to question some of the self-limiting beliefs and career myths which can hold them back.

Realisation of goals and achievements: by exploring in-depth mentees’ goals and achievements with an experienced female leader, mentees are more likely to set challenging and attainable goals for the future. 

Ability to manage change: working with a more experienced scientist/professional offers the opportunity to identify successful practices for managing changes and transitions at key life intervals.

Networking: mentoring offers the opportunity for mentees to be introduced to a wider range of professionals through their mentor’s professional network, within and outside ELIXIR.


If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at elead-elixir [at] bsc.es.


1 June 2023 to 31 December 2024

Nodes involved: