The results of a survey conducted by The Scientist determined the best places to work for life science academics. Many of the names on the list were not a surprise (J. David Gladstone Institutes, Massachusetts General Hospital, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the University of Groningen to name a few). What was surprising was that 9 of the top 25 places to work listed “Teaching and Mentoring” as one of their top weaknesses. 9 out of 25. And we wonder why it takes so long for an academic to get their first independent grant funded. Even at the top institutions supportive infrastructure is not in place to prepare young scientists to succeed at the next level. The top three institutions (and 5 out of the top 6) are considered to be weak in teaching and mentoring yet according to the survey they receive approximately 55 million US dollars in federal funding (~517 million US$ for the top 6!). The Institute for Systems Biology (Seattle, WA) is the highest rated institute to have teaching and mentoring as a strength…and they are ranked 7th! In light of all of this, it makes it even more important to know who you are working for. Many researchers incorrectly assume that working at one of these top 25 institutions is enough to advance their careers. Unfortunately, you might not be receiving the much needed support and guidance from senior scientists during the early stages of your career.
Don’t leave your career to chance. Visit RateMyPI.com (going live September, 2012) to read and write reviews about your fellow researchers, mentors/supervisors, and mentees/employees.