Inspired by a research mentorship programme organised by individual departments in different universities, Navya and Yu Zon decided to explore how such a programme can be used to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration in research. They saw the issue from two perspectives, with research opportunities being out of reach for many undergraduates, and the postgraduates being segregated from the wider university population due to the specificity of their course. With the solution in mind, CABLE was born in 2018 as Connect.ed at University College London (UCL), since extending its impact to aspiring researchers in various universities.
Connect.ed was created as a student initiative to innovate how undergraduates and postgraduates lead, learn, and collaborate through research.
Within weeks of initiation, Connect.ed received mentor applications from postgraduates more than 15 departments. Once mentor projects were announced and mentee applications were opened, undergraduates in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd year of studies actively applied to become mentees, resulting in a 100% success rate of mentor-mentee pairing.
In response to the high popularity of Connect.ed’s research mentorship programme, the Connect.ed co-founders decide to establish a student society by affiliating with UCL’s Student Union – thus, UCL Connect.ed Society was born with the motto ‘A Research Community Made for Students by Students’.
With strong support from its members, UCL Connect.ed Society was nominated for ‘Best Academic Achievement’ in the annual Student Union Awards 2019. The co-founders were invited to UCL’s Education Conference 2019 to give a presentation on ‘Making Collaborative Research Opportunities More Accessible Among
2020 – 2021
Expanding its impact to a wider student population, UCL Connect.ed Society has now supported over 150 mentorships between undergraduates and postgraduates.
Meanwhile, having graduated from university, the co-founders decide to spread Connect.ed’s positive impact to universities and institutions outside UCL. Connect.ed (Global) was thus created to launch this research mentorship programme without borders.
2021 – present
Garnering high popularity within the small pool of universities we reached out to, Connect.ed recruited our very first cohort of pilot mentorship programme participants – this included 12 mentors and a total of 23 mentees. Feedback for the programme was overwhelmingly positive, with a 91% satisfaction rating of the programme and both mentors and mentees reported highly commended experiences working with each other.
In September 2021, taking on a whole new mission to remove barriers to research experience that millions of undergraduates around the world are yearning for, Connect.ed was reborn as CABLE (Connecting and Building Learning Experiences), onboarding the new reality of helping students succeed in their desired fields of study through virtual means.
CABLE’s vision is to foster collaboration in research and we are anchored by three key pillars:
- Interdisciplinary research collaboration
- Encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration between undergraduates and postgraduates through research projects
- Inclusive learning opportunities
- Closing the gap between research-oriented vs non-research oriented universities where there is an imbalance in research opportunities available
- Inspiration for the next generation of leaders
- Allowing undergraduates to gain early exposure to research careers and postgraduates to hone leadership skills
Behind CABLE is a group of volunteers who are running and expanding this initiative so that more students can benefit from mentorship.