Quality of Life Trumps Prestige

Courtesy of University of Miami Conventional wisdom says to choose a place to do a postdoctoral fellowship in the same way that you choose a college or graduate school: Just go with the institution that offers the most money and has the most prestige and you can't go wrong. Right? Not according to The Scientist's "Best Places for Postdocs" survey.1 The top-10 list overflows with lesser-known schools that may lack the panache of the Ivy Leaguers or the big research institutes, and they certain

Sam Jaffe
Feb 9, 2003
Courtesy of University of Miami

Conventional wisdom says to choose a place to do a postdoctoral fellowship in the same way that you choose a college or graduate school: Just go with the institution that offers the most money and has the most prestige and you can't go wrong. Right? Not according to The Scientist's "Best Places for Postdocs" survey.1 The top-10 list overflows with lesser-known schools that may lack the panache of the Ivy Leaguers or the big research institutes, and they certainly can't boast their research largesse.

In fact, only one highly rated institution by postdocs ranked among the top-10 recipients of National Institutes of Health grant money, and that's the National Cancer Institute, itself an arm of the NIH. Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities, and the University of Pennsylvania, top NIH grant winners, landed only in the middle range.

Highly cited institutions also had a...