Whitehead again among Best Places to Work for postdocs

February 25, 2010

Tags: Awards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the third year in a row, Whitehead Institute has been named one of the best places in the country for postdoctoral researchers to work in 2010. 

According to a survey conducted by The Scientist magazine, Whitehead ranks third as a place of employment for postdocs. The survey, conducted during 2009, tallied responses from postdoctoral scientists at 75 research institutions throughout the United States. Whitehead’s ranking places it behind only the Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake, NY, and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, OK.

"I'm so pleased that Whitehead continues to be recognized as an elite institution for postdoctoral training,” says Christopher Pacheco, co-chair of the Whitehead Postdoctoral Association and a postdoctoral researcher in Whitehead Member Susan Lindquist’s lab. “I hope that our consistently high rankings in The Scientist will influence future talented postdocs to choose Whitehead and join our community."

This is The Scientist’s eighth annual survey to measure postdocs’ satisfaction with their institutions. The survey addresses 11 factors affecting the postdoc experience, including facilities, funding, training, and emphasis on work/life balance. All survey responses are voluntary.

According to the results, career development opportunities, postdoc experience, facilities and infrastructure, funding, and benefits are among Whitehead’s many strengths. The importance of postdoc benefits appears to be increasing as postdocs’ tenures are lengthening. The Scientist noted that more of this year’s respondents have been held their positions longer than two years. The magazine’s editors suggest that longer job terms may be causing a shift in priorities away from base compensation toward other perks, such as health care and retirement benefits. Indeed, survey respondents at 15 of this year’s top-ranked research institutions cited robust benefits packages that address health care and retirement as strengths.

For Whitehead postdocs, pay and benefits packages were expanded significantly in 2008, when the Whitehead administration addressed concerns raised by the Whitehead Postdoctoral Association. In 2009, Whitehead added subsidized child care to the mix. Whitehead Director David Page expects this trend to continue.

“Using feedback from the postdocs and Whitehead’s Postdoctoral Association, Whitehead continues to enhance and improve our postdocs’ experiences here,” says Page. “Postdoc training is a very important time, and the Whitehead administration and I have a responsibility to support postdocs as much as possible, both inside and outside the lab.”

Whitehead’s third-place ranking for 2010 comes on the heels of its first-place finish in 2009 and a ranking of 14 in 2008, the first year the Institute appeared in The Scientist’s rankings. Survey methodology and full results, including rankings of the top 15 non-U.S. institutions, can be found in the March 2010 issue of The Scientist and online at www.the-scientist.com.

Written by Nicole Giese Rura

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