Finding Your Mentors and Collaborators

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How to find your mentor

Your mentor will be your primary source of support during the tenure of your fellowship. Therefore, you should identify an experienced professional in a field related to your own discipline and interests, that can significantly contribute to the project goals. Mentors should be based at an University or other type of academic institution, a research organization or  institution, an NGO or private firm. The project mentor can be either based at your current institution, or at an institution where you wished to be based during the tenure of the Fellowship. You should contact your potential mentor and schedule a meeting to talk about your project ideas and the fellowship. Ask them questions to confirm the qualities that you are looking for in a mentor (e.g. Do they seem supportive? What are their expectations of a mentorship?) and their ability to commit their time to you and the project. Mentors are required to submit a letter of support for both the pre-proposal and the full proposal, stating that s/he is willing to be your mentor in case you are awarded a fellowship.


Requirements for a mentor:

  • To the best extent possible, be based at the same institution and country as the fellow
  • Be able to meet the fellow periodically
  • Be willing to provide mentorship for at least 2 years
  • Participate in a 4-day retreat with the rest of the Fellows and mentors

Who can be your mentor?

The mentor should be an experienced individual that is willing to guide, advice and share his or her knowledge throughout the fellowship tenure and project implementation. The ideal mentor, however, will go beyond just supervision and will play a role on your professional development.

A mentor-mentee agreement will be developed during the first annual retreat where Fellows and mentors will design their mentoring style.


  • Financial support (up to 5K USD)
  • All expenses covered for the retreat
  • Networking opportunities with other Fellows and mentors working on conservation challenges of the Pacific Coasts of Latin America



How to find your cross-sector collaborator

The CSF Program is looking to support projects that are informed and supported by cross-sector collaborations. Each proposed project must clearly identify a specific role for the cross-sector collaborator, and how their involvement will contribute to the success of the proposed project. To identify a suitable collaborator, you must identify individuals who work in sectors that are different from your own, but whose knowledge or expertise can compliment your specific project goals. We urge potential applications to contact potential collaborators early in the application process. Ideally, collaborators should:

  • Have the knowledge, tools or capacity to generate higher impact outcomes on your project
  • Are experts in their field
  • Are open to learning and new ways of thinking

Requirements of a collaborator:

  • Belong to a different sector than the Fellow.
  • Individuals based at NGOs, private firms, Universities or other institutions
  • Reside in the same country where the Fellow will be based during the tenure of the project (preferred)
  • Have the time and willingness to participate in the project

Who can be a cross-sector collaborator?

Any individual or organization working on a different sector than the Fellow, who has knowledge and expertise that will compliment that of the Fellow and mentor.


Potential roles of collaborators

  • Providing guidance during the Fellow’s project
  • Provide recommendations on how to enrich the Fellow’s project within the collaborator’s perspective and expertise
  • Collaborate during the planning and/or implementation of the Fellow’s project


Identifying your out-of-country collaborator

Fellows should identify an out-of-country collaborator during the application stage. We do understand that the needs of the project might shift as it progresses, but Fellows need to identify at least one potential out-of-country collaborator.

The role of an out-of-country collaborator is to provide the Fellow with professional development opportunities that are not available to the Fellow in their home country (or country where the project will be carried out).  Fellows should  look for individuals at institutions, firms or NGOs in the Western Hemisphere who have the capacity and willingness to host the Fellow during a visit or short term stay. Upon request, the Program Staff wil help link Fellows with relevant Program Partners who have expressed an interest in hosting Fellows. Get in contact with us.



Out-of-country collaborators should have the necessary resources and facilities to host the fellow for a 2-4 week visit. The collaboration must full-fill one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Have a positive effect on the Fellow’s professional development
  • Provide knowledge or skill-set that will have a positive impact on the Fellow’s project
  • Play a supportive role for the project
  • Travel to train experiences can be tailored to project needs, and must have a structured plan; fellows can receive training in form of an internship, research stay, workshop, academic course, etc.

Who can be an out-of-country collaborator?

An out-of-country collaborator is any individual or organization based outside of the country where the Fellow is working. The purpose of an international collaboration is meant to provide the Fellows with:

  •  A broader perspective and context of the issues around coastal conservation
  • Knowledge and training that is not available at the Fellow’s home country
  • New collaborators, networking opportunities and professional development experiences