UAB is ranked No. 5 nationally in the “Best Places to Work in Academia” survey of life science researchers published in the November issue of The Scientist magazine. UAB, ranked 47th last year, skyrocketed to the top of the rankings with high scores in the survey’s categories of job satisfaction, pay, tenure and research resources.
The magazine credited UAB’s rapid rise in the rankings to its strong interdisciplinary approach to research, reflected in its 17 university-wide research centers, and state-of-the-art facilities like the Richard C. and Annette N. Shelby Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, which opened in 2006.
“This is a welcomed endorsement of the collegial, interdisciplinary approach to research that has always defined UAB,” said UAB President Carol Garrison.
According to The Scientist, the most important factor in a strong work environment cited in this year’s survey was the relationship with co-workers and mentors.
“UAB has a long tradition of collaboration,” said Robert Rich, M.D., dean of the UAB School of Medicine. “Our centers are based on cross-departmental relationships and interdisciplinary study, enabling researchers from disparate fields to tackle problems together. Not only is this a more effective approach, but the collaboration builds interpersonal relationships among faculty, post-docs and graduate students.”
UAB ranks 27th nationally in total fed-eral research funding, attracting more than $400 million annually; was among the top 20 in funding from The National Institutes of Health in 2006 (the last year rankings were available); and is home to one of the original NIH-designed Comprehensive Cancer Centers. The university’s highly interdisciplinary, collaborative culture has a track record of producing groundbreaking research in the sciences, medicine and engineering.
For example, last year, UAB scientists were the first to use iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) harvested from skin cells to treat disease in an animal model, curing sickle cell anemia in mice.
The university’s Remote Sensing Lab is using state-of-the-art satellite imaging to both discover ancient Egyptian settlements in the Nile delta and track public health threats worldwide. Materials engineers are developing the next generation of lighter, stronger military gear for troops in the field.
Just last month, UAB researchers discovered how one highly effective antibiotic finds and destroys its targeted bacteria—a finding that could have important implications for combating antibiotic resistance and promoting antibiotic efficiency.
Survey respondents were asked to assess their working environments by indicating their level of agreement with 41 criteria in eight different areas. With over 2300 qualified responses, a total of 73 institutions were represented – 54 from the United States and 19 internationally. For more information about the survey, log onto www.the-scientist.com/bptw.
Top 15 U.S. Institutions:
1. J. David Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco, Calif.
2. Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.
3. Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
4. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.
5. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Ala.
6. Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Mo.
7. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.
8. Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, Okla.
9. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
10. University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.
11. Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, Pa.
12. University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif.
13. Burnham Institute for Medical Research, La Jolla, Calif.
14. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.
15. Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, WA