A new digital platform that connects early researchers with experienced mentors has been compared to the online dating app, Tinder. “But instead of a date, you get a mentor,” said Dr Olebogeng Selebi, Deputy Director at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for the Future of Work.

She was speaking at the launch in Pretoria last week of Thuso Connect, the new virtual mentoring programme for early career researchers. The event also launched Thuso Resources, an online platform with advice, articles and other information for those starting out in their academic careers.

The comparison of Thuso Connect and Tinder is not far-fetched. Dr Leandra Jordaan, project researcher for Advancing Early Career Researchers and Scholars, the Universities South Africa (USAf) programme that developed Thuso Connect and Thuso Resources, said both she and Professor Stephanie Burton, the project’s leader, had giggled at Dr Selebi’s comment. “Matching mentors and mentees can be very complex. So believe it or not, we did start there; both of us went to Tinder very early in the process, and looked at what they do and why they are succeeding in matching personalities,” said Dr Jordaan.