Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Scientist ranks the University of Iowa among the top 25 institutions in the United States for postdocs for a second straight year in its 2013 “Best Places to work for Postdocs” survey.

The UI is ranked No. 23—fourth-highest among public universities—in a poll that is dominated by research institutes. Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, located in Cambridge, Mass., received the No. 1 ranking for the second straight year.

The survey results appeared in the article “Best Places to Work for Postdocs: 2012,” in The Scientist’s April issue and online at www.the-scientist.com.  In total, more than 1,500 postdocs responded to this year's survey.

In 2012, Iowa was ranked No. 21.

“These annual surveys reflect the campus climate for an institution’s postdoctoral research scholars and fellows,” says Minnetta Gardinier, associate dean of the Graduate College who oversees the UI Office of Postdoctoral Scholars. ”While we take great pride in learning that our postdocs look very favorably on their training experience at Iowa, the survey also gives us an opportunity to learn where we might focus to further benefit our postdocs. Our office strives to provide outreach to our postdocs and to serve as a resource for enhancing their professional development as they prepare to become independent researchers.”

Iowa earned its ranking based on the responses its postdocs gave to a series of questions regarding their workplace. Categories covered by the statements included quality of training and mentoring, career development opportunities and networking, quality of communication, value of the postdoc experience, quality of facilities and infrastructure, funding, equitable treatment, pay and benefits, and family and personal life.

The UI’s strengths included funding and quality of training and mentoring.

Christopher Kovach, a postdoctoral research scholar in neurosurgery, credits his mentor, Neurosurgery Professor Matthew Howard, for helping further his career as a researcher.

“Matt Howard has taught me the importance of collaboration,” Kovach said in an interview with the Graduate College for a profile on his research. “He set the example for how to build and orchestrate a globe-encircling network of scientists and physicians working across a range of fields and to focus their efforts on a single scientifically important question. It's no simple feat to maintain focus within such a sprawling group, but Matt makes it look easy.”

The result of this campus-wide networking: groundbreaking research. UI postdocs play a major role in getting this research published by prominent journals. For more information on postdoctoral research being conducted at the UI, visit the Graduate College postdocs page.

Andrew Shepherd, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Pharmacology, researches factors affecting cell life and death. He couldn’t make his research advances without the help of colleagues in other departments and programs across campus.

“The fact that the Carver College of Medicine is so closely associated with the UI Hospital and Clinics is a great advantage for researchers like us,” Shepherd said in an interview with the Graduate College for a profile on his research. “It’s invaluable in creating the kind of collaborative environment and translational projects that are vital for coming up with new ideas and making important discoveries.”

For more information on postdoctoral opportunities at the UI, visit https://jobs.uiowa.edu/content/postdoc/.