SOURCE: The Scientist

October 30, 2007 08:30 ET

2007 Results Announced: Best Places to Work in Academia

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - October 30, 2007) - The Scientist's readers this year ranked Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as the Best Place to Work in Academia in the U.S. and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada as the top international institution. In the survey, published in the November issue of The Scientist, the National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Clemson University, Purdue University and the Trudeau Institute rounded out the top 5 in the U.S. Among international institutions, the University of Nottingham, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Dundee took top honors.

The top three U.S. rankings are represented by three types of institutions: Mass General (medical), the National Cancer Institute at Frederick (governmental), and Clemson (academic). Many surveyed scientists said that their foray outside of the university setting has been the best choice they could have made. A selection of surveyed scientists found a major advantage of medical centers and research hospitals is the ability to streamline the bench-to-bedside process. Dr. Michael Dyer, a scientist at St. Jude Children's Hospital, the 6th ranking institution, says, "You see patients, you see families; you're reminded on a daily basis [of why you are working here]."

Analysis showed Belgium was the best country in which to do research. Runners-up were the U.S., Canada and Switzerland. India, a relative newcomer to the survey, beat out research heavyweights -- with high-ranking institutions -- like the U.K. and The Netherlands. Another surprising finding: academia boasts a highly diverse pool of international researchers globally. More than 31% of survey respondents at U.S. institutions are non-nationals; 46% in the U.K. and 55% in Canada.

Several of the top ranked institutions have consistently performed year after year -- including the J. David Gladstone Institutes, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and Trudeau. Others have experienced dramatic movements from 2006 to 2007 -- the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, catapulted from 28th to 8th and Purdue moved from 25th to 4th. Surveyed academics at these institutions attribute these leaps to excellent peer relations and the resources they need to do their research. "You wouldn't imagine that you could run a big AIDS research program [in Nebraska], but we do," says Charles Wood, a scientist at the University of Nebraska.

Superior peer relations, along with research resources, pay and tenure were among the characteristics cited by surveyed academics as setting their institutions apart. "We're proud to be able to provide this information to our readers year after year," said The Scientist publisher Richard Gallagher. "It's important for scientists to be able to tell their peers exactly how they feel about where they work."

Survey respondents were asked to assess their working environments by indicating their level of agreement with 39 statements in 8 different categories. With over 2000 qualified responses, a total of 83 institutions were represented. The Scientist's November issue, available November 1st and released online at www.the-scientist.com, will feature detailed survey results and rankings of the top 40 U.S. institutions and the top 15 international institutions.

The Top 15 Institutions in the U.S.:

1.   Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
2.   National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Frederick, MD
3.   Clemson University, Clemson, SC
4.   Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
5.   Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, NY
6.   St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
7.   The J. David Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco, CA
8.   University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE
9.   University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
10.  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA
11.  University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
12.  Duke University, Durham, NC
13.  Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY
14.  Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
15.  Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

The Top 10 International Institutions:

1.   Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
2.   University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
3.   University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4.   University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
5.   University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
6.   Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
7.   University College London, London, UK
8.   ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
9.   Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
10.  University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

The Scientist's Best Places to Work (BPTW) survey series -- including Academia, Postdoc, and Industry -- is currently in its 5th year. Full results of the survey, methodology, and past BPTW surveys are available online at www.the-scientist.com/bptw.

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