For the second year in a row, OMRF is listed in The Scientist magazine’s annual ranking of the “Best Places to Work for Postdocs.”
OMRF ranked 5th among more than 100 U.S. institutions based on surveys taken by thousands of postdoctoral fellows—also called postdocs. Participants rated their institutions on 38 criteria in 9 different core areas, including the quality of training and mentoring, pay and benefits, and career development opportunities. The foundation moved up from a 6th place ranking last year.
OMRF, which employs approximately 50 postdocs, was the only Oklahoma institution to appear in the top 10. Postdocs are typically junior scientists who have recently completed their doctoral degrees. They customarily spend 3 to 5 years at a research institution, gaining experience and training under the guidance of senior scientists.
“Science is about learning and, at OMRF, it’s also about teaching and training the next generation of researchers,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “The work our postdocs do has a major impact on the quality of our science, so we focus on giving them everything they need to thrive.”
For Paul Rindler, Ph.D., that means core facilities that give him and other postdocs instant access to a range of services many scientists don’t have.
“Although we maintain many valuable collaborations, we don’t always have to depend on other institutions,” he said. “We can do a range of tests on-site, which speeds up the pace of research,” he said.
Fellow postdoc Indra Adrianto, Ph.D., said the focus on doing high-quality science means he’s receiving the best training possible.
“Not only do I work and communicate directly with my own supervisor, I can work with scientists across the foundation on projects,” he said. “We are always pushed to take the lead in projects, to be lead author on papers and even to write smaller grants. All of this is putting me in a position to become a better scientist.”
OMRF’s scientific staff train and mentor postdocs to help them establish careers and someday run their own labs, said Scott Hooker, who serves as OMRF’s human resources liaison to postdocs.
“Our goal is to help them launch successful careers in medical research, and we do it well.”
“The postdoctoral years are extremely important in helping young scientists mature into competent lab leaders,” said The Scientist’s Associate Editor Jef Akst, who oversees the magazine’s Best Places surveys. “Our survey provides information about both the strengths and the weaknesses of institutions in training Ph.D.s for that transition—straight from the postdocs themselves.”