Saturday, November 12, 2005

Best Places to Work in Academia??

I was glossing over The Scientist, when I came across this article:

Best Places to Work in Academia, 2005

(Like the NY Times, The Scientist just doesn't get it. I don't have a personal subscription, so I can't cut & past the relevant quotes.)

So if you're an academic in the life-sciences, where is the best place to work in the US?

1- Clemson University
2- Trudeau Institute

In the rest of the world?

1- Weizmann Institute
2- University of Toronto
(Incidentally, University of Alberta and University of Calgary also made the top 15, I guess Elizabeth Blackburn was right.)

But why Clemson and Trudeau? Both have small life-science departments, both are in the middle of no-where. More importantly, both do not not have many scientists pushing the frontiers of knowledge. There are many essentials to create a good working environment, but stimulation is near the top. Sure these places may have low stress levels and great health care benefits, but stimulation? It reminds me of these stupid lists of the "best places to live in America" where Nirvana lies in some tiny town in the Midwest. Something tells me that these lists reflect the wishes of the list makers rather than some objective measurement.

There are many things I hate about Harvard Medical School, but one benefit is that you are surrounded by hard working and/or very clever people. In most labs, such an environment helps you grow as a scientist. And Boston also has quite a bit of culture and night life to help recharge your batteries.

Is Harvard Medical School in the top 15? No. Would I rank it in the top 15? Probably not.

Harvard medical school is a great place to work as a postdoc, but not as junior faculty. Unfortunately Harvard can rest on i's name and can treat it's academic staff like trash ... and get away with it. After all there will always be more high quality academics vying for those spots. But would I want to go to Clemson or Trudeau? Not anytime soon.