The J. David Gladstone Institutes Top 2006 List
Six years ago, the San Francisco-based J. David Gladstone Institutes surveyed postdocs, appointed a postdoctoral advisor, and brought in an organizational psychologist to help create a top-notch training program. This year, their No. 1 ranking suggests that their efforts are paying off.
The training program includes courses in time management, mentorship, and even one by Gladstone President Robert Mahley on the art of lecturing, part of an effort to "teach us everything we need to know to be independent scientists or whatever we want to [be]," says postdoc Danny Hatters. Kimberly Scearce-Levie, a former postdoc-turned-staff-scientist at Gladstone, says the promotion track has allowed her to acquire skills she needs to run her own lab.
In a postdoc-dominated environment-Scearce-Levie's lab has seven postdocs and one grad student, which is "not unusual"-the fellows enjoy exclusive biweekly pizza lunches and seminar series with prominent scientists. Outside these events, however, postdoc interaction can be limited, Hatters says.
The Institutes' recent move across the street from the University of California, San Francisco's main campus in Mission Bay has strengthened their affiliation with the university, where postdocs and faculty hold joint appointments. Gladstone postdocs have access to UCSF libraries and facilities, and in December, the two institutions teamed up to host a postdoc leadership conference.
Gladstone postdocs all receive the same salary and benefits in what postdoc advisor John LeViathan calls a "very transparent" process. Some say this salary doesn't match San Francisco's high cost of living, however, and rue the lack of on-site childcare. Luckily, they can air such grievances in the administration's biennial surveys or before the postdoc- and faculty-comprised founding board.