For the third year in a row, OMRF has made The Scientist magazine’s annual list of the “Best Places to Work for Postdocs.” This year the foundation rose in the ranks, moving up from fifth to third best among U.S. and some international research institutions.
The list was published online this week by The Scientist and is based on thousands of surveys from postdoctoral fellows—often called postdocs—who were asked to rate their institutions. The survey topics covered 9 different core areas, including questions about the quality of facilities, training, communication, and pay and benefits.
OMRF, which employs approximately 35 postdocs, was the only Oklahoma institution to appear in the top 25. Postdocs are typically junior scientists who have recently completed their doctoral degrees. They usually spend 3 to 5 years at a research institution gaining experience and training under the guidance of senior scientists.
“Every senior-level researcher at OMRF was once a postdoc,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “We all know how valuable they are to advancing research and how important it is that we help them advance their careers. This is the next generation of researchers, so we are intent on giving them the experience and the know-how to someday run their own labs.”
Hao Wu, Ph.D., has been a postdoc at OMRF for 5 years and said he appreciates that the foundation is opening doors in many directions.
“OMRF often invites in scientists from other institutions or industries to talk to postdocs,” he said. “The information, training and opportunities I’ve received here are definitely preparing me for the next step in my career.”
The ability to work with a variety of scientists and learn different techniques has been excellent, said Kirk Bergstrom, Ph.D.
“We’re encouraged to be curious and to come up with novel ideas,” he said. “I’m getting the training that’s putting me on track to have my own lab. We are trusted, given responsibilities and taught project management and grant writing, as well.”
OMRF’s scientific staff work with postdocs to advance biomedical research while training and mentoring them, said Scott Hooker, who serves as OMRF’s human resources liaison to postdocs.
“OMRF provides some of the best facilities, pay and benefits around to our postdocs, because we value their contributions greatly,” he said. “Our goal is to help them launch successful careers in biomedical research, industry and teaching—whichever path they want to take.”