VARI ranks among 'best' for postdocs
Van Andel Research Institute has been named by the life sciences magazine The Scientist as one of the top 15 Best Places to Work for Postdocs in the nation in the magazine’s seventh annual survey.
The survey ranked institutions according to 43 criteria in 11 different areas including quality of training and mentoring, career development opportunities, networking opportunities, quality of facilities and infrastructure, benefits and family and personal life. VARI scored especially high in the areas of benefits and funding.
The survey polled non-tenured life scientists working in academia or other non-commercial research institutions and asked them to rank their working environment. More than 3,400 scientists responded to the survey. Eighty-five U.S. institutions and 27 non-U.S. institutions that received five or more responses were included in the rankings. The results are published in the March 2009 issue of The Scientist.
“I think that part of what sets our postdoctoral program apart is the balance we try to help postdoctoral fellows achieve in their careers,” said VARI Scientific Investigator Cindy Miranti, Ph.D., Chairman of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. “We offer training, seminars, workshops, and mentorship programs that provide an array of skill sets that extend beyond the day to day work in the laboratory. These include skills that they will need to be successful competitors in a global scientific community.”
According to VARI, a new research environment is only the first of many challenges for many postdocs. International postdocs often have to adapt to a new culture, language and set of immigration laws. More than half of VARI’s recent postdocs received their doctorates abroad. A 2005 survey of more than 7,000 postdocs found that 54 percent hold temporary U.S. visas and of these more than 76 percent received their doctorates abroad.
“We have postdocs working at the institute from all parts of the world,” said VARI Human Resources Director Linda Zarzecki. “I think it is important that we provide the kind of support that allows them to feel comfortable in a new environment and get right to work on their research.”