Science - February 17, 2005

Postdocs like Wageningen

The international science journal for life scientists, The Scientist, placed Wageningen University fourteenth on its list of the best places to work for postdoctoral scientists outside the US. The department of Communication at Wageningen UR reacted by placing an advert on the front page of the national newspaper De Volkskrant last Saturday.

‘When we heard the news on Thursday we got to work immediately on the ad. Our philosophy is to keep up with the news and also to draw more attention to good news about our organisation,’ said director of Communication Annette van de Wetering. ‘What’s good about the survey is that it is our own postdocs who say we are doing a good job here. That’s better than blowing our own trumpet.’
The Scientist’s list is based on an annual survey it holds among international postdocs in the life sciences. A total of 3533 people completed the questionnaire, which included questions on access to publications, career prospects, and quality of supervision and facilities. The postdocs are from 769 institutes mainly in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.
The listings only include institutes where five or more people replied. The rankings change considerably from year to year. For example, there are only two institutes (the University of Utrecht, and the University of Alberta, Canada) that reached the top 15 institutes outside the US in both 2004 and 2005.
The satisfaction of the postdocs is striking, as these tend to be researchers who tend to go from one temporary contract to the next. The top three institutes for postdocs outside the US are the Umea Plant Science Center, Uppsala University (both in Sweden) and the Netherlands Cancer Institute. The University of Utrecht is one higher than Wageningen in thirteenth place this year. Last year Utrecht was fourth on the list. / GvM

See also the editorial Postdocs.

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