Acronyms, I like acronyms!

Here are two resources that I found useful for (1) supervising researchers (SMART) and (2) mentoring scientists (TGROW)


(this is an excerpt from the Virtual Remote Mentor Guide -DOE-SC-WDTS Programs)
SMART is an acronym for a framework to help guide goal setting. It is intended to ensure that goals are planned, clear, trackable, and reachable. With SMART goals, you are more likely to achieve the goal efficiently and effectively. Below is an overview of the framework to establish SMART goals.

S = Specific
Be specific in what you want to accomplish. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
• Who: Who is involved?
• What: What do I want to accomplish?
• Where: Where is located (if applicable)?
• When: When will you complete this?
• Which: Which requirements or constraints are involved?
• Why: Why is this important
M = Measurable
Establish metrics or criteria to determine whether you met your goal. This makes your goal more tangible and provides a means of measuring progress. When progress is measured, you are more likely to stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement.
To determine if a goal is measurable, ask questions such as……How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
A = Attainable
Make your goal attainable. Your goal needs to be attainable and realistic to be achievable. When a goal is important to you, you begin to figure out ways to reach it. You develop the attitudes, abilities, or skills and determine the financial capacity or resources to achieve it.
To determine if a goal is attainable, ask questions such as……Is the goal doable? Do I have the necessary resources? Do I have the necessary skills?
R = Realistic
Set a realistic goal. A realistic goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
T = Timely
Set a realistic target date to complete your goal. With no time frame tied to your goal, there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to complete an analysis of a dataset, when do you want to finish the analysis? Stating “someday” will not work. But if you anchor it within a time frame, “by July 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on your goal.


I owe this one to Marcia Ocon Leimer. It helps nailing down a particular issue and find way to solve it. This one is surprisingly powerful in many occasions (not only in science)
  • Topic
    • Coach helps coachee focuses on one specific area
    • Mine down for the exact topic
    • Find issue
      • Timeframes
      • Impact
      • Interpersonal elements
  • Goal
    • Define desired outcome
    • Short, medium and/or long term
  • Reality
    • Where are we now with respect to the issue or desired outcome?
  • Options
    • What are the coachee’s options?
    • Push to explore new routes to success, use your creativity!
  • Way forward
    • timeframe
    • Small steps are good

And below are two of my pet peeves when I mentor a student:

Scientific mentoring of interns – covid edition

Units, please