UCL voted best place for postdocs to work

1 March 2011

UCL has been voted the best place for postdoctoral researchers to work for the second consecutive year in an international survey run by The Scientist magazine.

Postdoctoral students in the lab

UCL placed first among the institutions based outside the US, and came top among non-US institutions in the following categories:

  • quality of training and mentoring
  • quality of communication
  • value of the postdoctoral experience
  • equity.

The Medical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research, one of UCL’s partner organisations in the UK Centre for Medical Research & Innovation, was also ranked in the top ten international best places to work, at number eight.

The Scientist, a magazine of the life sciences, invited readers who identified themselves as non-tenured life scientists working in academia, industry, or non-commercial research institutions to take part in this web-based survey.

Nearly 3,000 respondents to the survey assessed their work environment and experience by indicating their level of agreement with 38 criteria in nine different areas. The results were collated and compiled to show rankings for the best US and international institutes.

Professor Sir John Tooke, Head of UCL School of Life & Medical Sciences, said: “We are very pleased to be recognised in this way for the second year running. We strive to provide an exceptional research environment for early-career researchers and to that end have recently formed an Academic Careers Office to enhance further the experience of postdoctoral fellows and ensure an integrated academic experience from studenthood through to principal investigator status.

“At UCL opportunities for graduate students to work with world-renowned researchers exist in all areas of investigation from fundamental science to applied research. Collaborations within the School and with other UCL faculties and external research bodies extend beyond the traditional subject boundaries and provide exciting training opportunities in interdisciplinary research areas. UCL’s involvement in the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) will also provide exceptional opportunities for UCL post doctoral researchers, cultivating the next generation of top quality biomedical scientists.” 

Rodrigo Young is a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Steve Wilson’s laboratory in UCL Cell & Developmental Biology, studying the cell signalling and genetic mechanisms that drive eye development. He said: “One of the reasons that UCL provides an outstanding environment for postdocs is that the university is home to a very broad diversity of research groups. In my field of biomedical research, this spans the full spectrum from fundamental, basic studies to medical and translational research. This makes the environment very conducive to establishing fruitful collaborations that cut across different fields and approaches.  In my case, this has enabled me to establish collaborations in new research areas with colleagues working at the Institute for Child Health that, I think, have really brought benefits to all involved in the projects.”

Image: Postdoctoral researchers in the laboratory


UCL context

The UCL School of Life & Medical Sciences (incorporating UCL Medical School) is one of the largest and most prestigious aggregations of academics in biomedical sciences, many of whom are internationally acknowledged world leaders. The School has a global reputation for teaching informed by cutting-edge research.

The School’s Research Domains encompass the breadth of its research activity within ten core groupings, and this research is conducted in collaboration with other UCL departments. These research activities are supported by partnerships with NHS trusts, research councils, charities and industry.

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation will be an interdisciplinary medical research institute. Its work will help understand why disease develops and find new ways to prevent and treat illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.

By bringing together scientists from all disciplines, it will not only help to improve people’s lives but will also keep the UK at the forefront of innovation in medical research, attract high-value investment, and strengthen the economy.

UKCMRI was founded by four of the UK’s largest and most successful scientific and academic institutions: UCL, the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust.

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