Around the Pier: Top Spot for Postdocs


Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has been ranked eleventh best in North America and fourth best on the West Coast in "Best Places to Work for Postdocs" survey recently released by The Scientist magazine.

The fifth annual survey covered 11 categories in which respondents judged their respective institutions. Categories included quality of mentoring, level of communication, and opportunities for networking and career development. The most important factor cited was the quality of training and career preparation offered by an institution. The Scientist's March issue features detailed survey results and rankings of the top 40 North American institutions.

"The new rankings in The Scientist confirm what many already know about Scripps and its leadership in ocean and earth science education, training and research," said Tony Haymet, director of Scripps. "Postdoctoral researchers are a vital component of the institution and this recognition will cause us to redouble our efforts at fostering a robust environment for helping them thrive."

Haymet has instituted a new program in which postdoctoral scholars are being recruited across all areas of research at Scripps.

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranked as North America's top place for postdocs to work in The Scientist's survey, followed by the J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Research Triangle Park.

"Postdocs are the lifeblood of academic science," said The Scientist editor Richard Gallagher. "Our survey is one of the few nationwide efforts to assess their needs and desires and to recognize excellence in postdoc programs."

Some institutions — including the Gladstone Institutes, the EPA and the National Institute of Environmental Health Science in Research Triangle Park, Emory University in Atlanta and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle — have repeatedly performed well over the past several years, maintaining their positions among the top 15 for three to four years. Others that had been lower in past rankings, such as Scripps, the University of Iowa and the Mayo Clinic, jumped into the top 15 list for the first time this year. Many postdocs attribute the leaps at Scripps and elsewhere to a growing recognition of their importance on those campuses.

Top 15 Institutions in North America:

1. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston

2. The J. David Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco

3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park

4. Genentech, South San Francisco

5. The University of Iowa, Iowa City

6. National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver

7. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park

8. Emory University, Atlanta

9. Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca

10. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle

11. Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, La Jolla

12. University of British Columbia, Vancouver

13. National Cancer Institute, Bethesda

14. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

15. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

-Mario Aguilera



To read more about the rankings, visit

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