What researchers want:
Factors identified include job satisfaction, peers, management and policies, infrastructure, and research resources
“…personal security in terms of pay, benefits, and a fair tenure-review process. Researchers today increasingly value institutions that can provide funding and infrastructure that will let them continue their research when federal income stalls. “
Researchers are seeking alternatives:
“…Many scientists say that their foray outside of the university setting has been the best choice they could have made.”
More time for research:
“…Andrea Cooper has experienced the advantages and disadvantages of each type of institution firsthand. She initially worked at a government lab, spent several years at Colorado State University, and then in 2002 joined fifth-ranking Trudeau Institute, a nonprofit based in Saranac Lake, NY. Classroom teaching was never Cooper’s forte, and she found that the administrative duties of the university were a distraction from her research. At Trudeau, where she studies the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, “I can spend 95% of my time doing research,” says Cooper.
Less time spent on writing for grant funding:
“…When Mary Carrington moved from a university to become a principal investigator in human genetics at the National Cancer Institute at Frederick, her publication record skyrocketed. At a government-run laboratory, “I’m not busy writing RO1 grants all the time,” she says. In the years she spent getting started as an independent researcher at 12th-ranking Duke, she published an average of five papers a year. Now, at NCI-Frederick, that number has jumped to approximately 14.
Bench to Bedside process:
“…Another advantage of medical centers and research hospitals, like this year’s top-ranking Mass General, is the ability to streamline the bench-to-bedside process, something nonprofit institutes and universities often struggle to achieve. Michael Dyer thought of himself as a straight basic researcher working on retinoblastoma, with no interest in translational medicine. But when he came to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, this year’s sixth-ranking US institution, Dyer was “inspired” to work with practicing doctors to bring his successful research projects to patients. At St. Jude, “You see patients, you see families; you’re reminded on a daily basis [of why you’re working there].”
“…International researchers are not unique to US laboratories. Many countries around the world boast of a highly diverse pool of researchers. In the United States, 31% of respondents said they were born outside the country. That number is higher in the United Kingdom, where 46% of respondents are international, and in Canada (with 55% international scientists), perhaps due to more stringent visa requirements in the United States.“
“..This year, for the first time since the survey’s inception in 1993, Belgium was ranked the best country in which to do research. The country rebounded following a downward trend (from fourth to sixth place) from 2004 to 2006. India, a relative newcomer in the category of best country to work, beat research heavyweights such as the United Kingdom and Sweden for the second year in a row.”
See article, rankings, and methodology in The Scientist