SOURCE: The Scientist

March 03, 2008 12:30 ET

2008 Results Announced: Best Places to Work for Postdocs

Science Postdocs in a Tight Funding Environment Are Organizing and Using The Scientist's Survey to Instigate Change; The Top-Ranked Institutions Are Listening

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - March 3, 2008) - The Scientist, magazine of the life sciences, announced today the winners of its 6th annual Best Places to Work for Postdocs survey. Winners of this year's awards represent the trailblazers in bettering postdocs' professional experience. The J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco was ranked as the top U.S. institution, receiving high marks from The Scientist's readers for its strong infrastructure and opportunities for networking. The National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, CO, and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, also rank high among postdocs, coming in 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the U.S. Among international institutions, the University of Cambridge in the U.K. took top honors followed by 3 other U.K. institutions -- the Universities of Liverpool, Nottingham, and Edinburgh. Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada took the #5 spot.

In the current tight science funding environment, institutions must find creative ways to improve postdoc benefits and foster a thriving scientific atmosphere. Top-ranked Gladstone has kept a high profile regaining the top spot in 2008 having ranked 2nd in 2007 and 1st in 2006. Gladstone postdocs cited an attentive postdoc advisor and the opportunity to work with high-caliber scientists across the institutes as what sets Gladstone apart as a great place to work. "Being around good scientists really elevates your game," says Matt Hirschey, a postdoc at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology.

The U.K. took the top four spots among international institutions. The number one University of Cambridge was up from 9th place last year and 25th place in 2006. One reason for the jump, says Oliver Jones, a postdoc in biochemistry and leader of the university's postdoc society, is their focus on professional training. "If you want to learn some new skill there's usually some way of doing it." The university also listened to the lobbying of its postdoc society and implemented a career support and services program.

Some institutions ranked -- including Gladstone, the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center -- have repeatedly performed well in the survey, maintaining their positions among the top 15 for 4 years. The Scientist has consistently found that institutions which rank highly are listening to their postdocs' concerns about uncertain career opportunities, work/life balance, and the need for first-rate professional development.

Acknowledging improvements that institutions make is an important part of the continuing effort to enhance the postdoctoral experience. "Postdocs are the lifeblood of academic science," says The Scientist Editor & Publisher Richard Gallagher. "Our survey is one of the few nationwide efforts to assess their needs and desires and to recognize excellence in postdoc programs."

The full survey results, including rankings of the top 45 global institutions and methodology can be found in this month's issue of The Scientist, available online at www.the-scientist.com and in print at local bookstores.

The Top 15 U.S. Institutions:

1.  The J. David Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco, CA
2.  National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO
3.  Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM
4.  Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
5.  University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
6.  Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA
7.  Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
8.  The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK
9.  The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
10. Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA
11. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park,
    NC
12. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA
13. Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, WA
14. Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA
15. Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA

The Top 10 International Institutions:

1.  University of Cambridge, UK
2.  University of Liverpool, UK
3.  University of Nottingham, UK
4.  Edinburgh University, UK
5.  Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
6.  Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Switzerland
7.  University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
8.  University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
9.  Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
10. University of Toronto, Canada

About The Scientist:

The Scientist, the magazine of the life sciences, has informed and entertained life science professionals around the world for the past 20 years. We provide innovative print and online coverage of the latest developments in the life sciences including trends in research, new technology, news, business and careers. We reach the leading researchers in academia and industry that are interested in maintaining a broad view of the life sciences by reading insightful articles that are current, concise, provocative and entertaining. For more information about The Scientist, visit www.the-scientist.com.

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