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'Best place to work' say Postdocs

Press release issued: 11 February 2005

Bristol University has been voted as the 5th best research institution to work at outside the US, according to Postdocs.

Bristol University has been voted as the 5th best research institution to work at outside the US, according to the rankings in The Scientist’s 3rd annual ‘Best Places to Work for Postdocs’ survey.

More than 3,500 postdocs who responded to this year’s survey rated a valuable training experience, access to research equipment and library resources, and a good mentoring relationship as the ingredients that make for a great workplace, but most respondents are unhappy with how their institutions measure up.  Full survey results will be detailed in the article “Best Places to Work for Postdocs: 2005,” appearing in The Scientist on February 14, 2005.

Some of the respondents’ concerns, like receiving adequate compensation, have been voiced before; but others, such as transitioning to independence within a reasonable time frame, might be indicative of new problems.

Over the past three years Bristol University has been concentrating on developing a whole series of improvements for its research staff.  These advances are a major part of the University’s Human Resources strategic plan that recognises the vital importance of research staff in enabling the University to achieve its aims.

Christian Carter, Personnel Manager, said: “This is a really great achievement and reflects the importance to the University of its research staff.

“There is, however, much work still to do and we have ambitious plans over the next few years to continue to keep Bristol ‘Employer of Choice’ for the very best researchers.”

More than 40,000 survey invitations were sent to individuals who had registered at and identified themselves as a non-tenured life scientist working at a non-commercial research institution in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or Israel, the magazine received 3,533 valid responses representing 769 individual institutions.  Overall, The Scientist evaluated the 125 US institutions and 66 non-US institutions that had five or more responses.

The full text of the article and survey methodology is available online to The Scientist subscribers. Members of the press who would like access to the full text should contact  For more information about The Scientist’s Best Places to Work surveys, go to

The top overall results for non-US institutions are:
1. Umea Plant Science Center, Umea, Sweden
2. Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
3. Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4. Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
5. University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
6. Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada
7. University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
8. University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
9. Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark
10. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
11. University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
12. Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
13. Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
14. Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
15. Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas—CSIC, Madrid, Spain


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