Though Yale has not yet fully realized its $500 million science initiative, University scientists already have something to cheer about — The Scientist magazine recently named Yale one of the best places to do scientific work in the United States.
The magazine ranked the University third, after Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The rankings were based on benefits, salary, funding, facilities, administration, mentoring and future opportunities.
The Scientist encouraged over 38,000 full-time faculty members and researchers to fill out an online survey that asked them 56 questions concerning their scientific research environment. More than 2,210 responses were used to determine the rankings.
The questionnaire asked respondents to evaluate the relevance and accuracy of certain statements concerning their work environments.
Yale President Richard Levin said it is significant to note that the rankings were based on employees’ surveys.
“For our own scientists to be saying that this is a great work environment is very gratifying,” Levin said.
Provost Susan Hockfield said the ranking was a great honor. Hockfield, who is also a professor of neuroscience at Yale and former dean of the graduate school, said she chose to come to Yale because of the scientific community’s spirit of teamwork.
Hockfield, who said Yale has a wonderful collegial environment, stressed that collegiality is a crucial component of success for a scientific institution now that science has become increasingly interdisciplinary.
But she also said collegiality is not only limited to the sciences, and collaboration is important not only for research but also for teaching because it helps bring undergraduates into research labs.
According to the survey, Yale respondents seemed most pleased with their relationships with colleagues and the availability of financial and physical resources.
Michael Caplan, the associate director for Yale medical studies and a professor of physiology and cell biology, said the best thing about Yale is the University’s “extraordinary collaborative atmosphere.”
“At Yale, it is uniquely easy to establish collaboration within departments and across departments,” Caplan said.
Steven Girvin, a professor of physics and applied physics who came to Yale in September 2001, said the University earned its spot near the top of the rankings.
“[Yale] is a wonderful place to work in science,” he said. “I was attracted [to the University] by the opportunity to work closely with experimentalists.”
More information about the survey and the rankings can be found in the Oct. 20 issue of The Scientist magazine in an article entitled, “How They Measure Up: Scientific Institutions.”