The Scientist BPTW 2008

5 March 2008

The Scientist has just published their list compiled through surveys, for this year’s best places to work for postdocs.

Best place to work for postdoc 2008

There are two main lists that are featured – one that of Top 10 US Institutions, and one of Top 10 International Institutions.

Perhaps rather unsurprisingly the Top 10 US Institutions list is dominated by mainly private ventures rather than government-funded academic institutions, given the constant stories of reduction in funding to be made available from the federal budget. I had to say I am ignorant of the details and I don’t like to repeat what I heard from my friends since I haven’t got round to verifying the information, but suffice to say a lot of them are negatively reported that they scare me from wanting to consider moving to US for a postdoc after I finish my thesis.

On the international front, seems like UK and Canada are the countries of choice. These are countries that in recent years have poured in aplenty of scientific supports and investments, in order to boost the lively research environment that they have cultivated. As they are also English-speaking, it is a very appealing choice for international scientific community who are already communicating mainly through English. One does not feel to be under pressure to learn a new language in order to fit in in his/her new country of choice.

I don’t know though if I should be comforted or scared with the indication that some 11.6% of those surveyed don’t know the type of position they’ll expecting to be in two years. Comforted, because I am currently in such a situation, still trying to weigh my options on what to do after my thesis completion. Scared, because I wonder if this is the reflection of the uncertainties faced by scientists due to limited number of positions available, or are they becoming disillusioned with science that they’re now trying to decide whether to even stay or go.

Some nearly 20% foresee themselves in industry in two years, highlighting perhaps money and the level of income could be a thorny issue. Or at least big enough to pose the dilemma for one to choose to cross over from scientific ideals to commercial thinkers?

I am confused…


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