Western ranks 10th in international survey
By Jonathan Yazer
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
“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