February 23, 2004
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is one of the ten best places to work for postdoctoral researchers, according to a recent survey of readers of the magazine The Scientist. WHOI ranked eighth in the top ten US institutions.
Nearly all of the top fifteen US institutions in the survey were medical or cancer research centers, with the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia ranked first. The National Institutes of Health was number 10, and the California Institute of Technology was ranked 12th.
More than 3,500 readers responded to the web-based survey, which was open to scientists in 21 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. Email invitations were sent to more than 48,000 readers of The Scientist and registrants on The Scientist web site who identified themselves as non-tenured life scientists working in academic or other non-commercial research institutions. The survey was conducted September 9-20, 2003.
Respondents were asked to assess their working environment according to 45 criteria in 11 different areas. Criteria included access to books and journals needed for research, training, support of the principal investigator and laboratory colleagues, quality of the research facilities, and pride in their research.
“We are delighted to be included in the top ten postdoctoral programs nationally as determined by The Scientist survey,” said WHOI Vice President and Dean John Farrington. “Postdoctoral scientists and engineers at WHOI contribute substantively to the intellectual and learning environments of the Institution.”
Between 50 and 80 postdocs are in residence at the Institution at any one time. Seventy-five to 170 applications are received each year, and ten to 15 appointments are offered for fellowships of 18 months. While postdoctoral scientists and engineers have been associated with WHOI since the Institution’s founding in 1930, the current year-round program was formalized in 1960. Private donors have provided funding for the postdoctoral fellowship program for decades, and federal grants and contracts awarded to the scientific and technical staff also provides support for postdocs. Some secure their own funding from other national and international sources.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to research and higher education at the frontiers of ocean science. Located in Falmouth, MA, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, the Institution is organized into five departments, interdisciplinary institutes and a marine policy center, and conducts a joint graduate education program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.