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NCI One of '10 Best Places' for Postdocs

By Dorie Hightower

The National Cancer Institute ranked among the top 10 institutions for postdoctoral fellows to work in a recent survey by The Scientist, a news magazine for life science researchers. The results of the magazine's "Best Places to Work for Postdocs" survey were published in its Feb. 10 issue.

Respondents "graded" their postdoc experiences by ranking institutions' mentors, lab environments, salaries and benefits. The article pointed out that, though not a scientific study, the survey's results, and the views expressed in it, provide a compelling portrait of postdocs' goals and expectations.

"Because postdoctoral fellows thrive on one-on-one relationships with principal investigators and learn much from their peers, the top institutions all share a culture of collaboration and a commitment to teaching," said Alexander Grimwade, publisher of The Scientist. "This study provides a detailed window into the lives of postdoc scientists and brought out a lot of useful information about what they consider to be positive about their research experience."

NCI, which ranked seventh, was the only federal agency among the 10 institutions selected, which included, in descending order: Rutgers University, University of Miami, Princeton University, Dalhousie University, University of Nebraska, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of California-Davis, University of Iowa and University of Kentucky.

The two divisions of NCI that have the largest number of scientists conducting intramural research are the Center for Cancer Research (CCR), with 686 postdocs and 120 clinical fellows, and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), with approximately 50 postdocs. According to Dr. Demetrius Albanes, chief of DCEG's Office of Education, "DCEG is a great place for postdoctoral training because of its long tradition of high-quality mentoring, a critical mass of outstanding cancer epidemiologists and extensive study resources and interdisciplinary collaborations."

CCR's associate director for training and education, Dr. Jonathan S. Wiest, places a particular emphasis on training and mentoring the next generation of investigators in basic, interdisciplinary and translational cancer research. "CCR is committed to supporting and training young scientists and clinicians as they launch their careers in basic and clinical research. The research resources available to our investigators and trainees are unmatched in this country and provide a rich environment to conduct basic and clinical research."

The Scientist focuses on the career concerns of professional researchers and has a circulation of 75,000 readers in the U.S. and Europe. More than 30,000 readers were invited to participate in the survey, with 2,800 usable responses.

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