March 3, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 79  

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NEWS

Western ranks 10th in international survey

By Jonathan Yazer
Gazette Staff

Post-doctoral researchers seeking work need look no further than the academic institutions listed in a survey conducted by The Scientist magazine, which cites Western as a leading university in the field.

Western ranked 10th in the survey produced by the international magazine for life scientists. “I think it’s a fantastic development,” said Ted Hewitt, Western’s associate VP-research. “This will contribute tremendously to our position.

“I think it’s been something that’s been building for a long time and we’ve finally hit a critical mass,” Hewitt added. “We’ve just broken through and it’s a great development.”

“There are some differences from last year, including a larger Canadian presence,” said Paula Park, senior editor at The Scientist and editor of the survey. The University of Alberta ranked first, while McGill University placed seventh.

This is the second year the survey was published and marks the first time Western placed among the 10 best working and research environments for post-docs outside the United States. “Number 10 is pretty darn good, especially considering we weren’t even on the radar last year,” Hewitt said.

“[Universities] will often use this in their publicity materials. It’s a very useful marketing tool. There’s more competition with postdocs than there is for many other positions, say, assistant professors,” Park said.

“We will certainly play this up and will emphasize that Western is the place to come,” explained Nils Petersen, Western’s VP-research. “Western is a research-intensive university, and this is a very important part of our image.”

Carlos Flores-Mir, a post-doc at U of A who completed the survey, explained the school provides its post-docs with family support and a comfortable atmosphere in addition to high calibre research tools and generous wages. This is important as he and many of his colleagues come from countries outside North America. “We’re leaving everything from back home, living in a completely different environment. Here, I have all the support I need,” Flores-Mir said.

Park emphasized that the survey was not a definitive measure of quality. “It really isn’t a scientific survey. It’s very subjective because it’s based on our readership.”

 

 

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