6 July 2010

Readers of The Scientist magazine have ranked The University of Queensland, Australia as the top international academic institution outside the USA in the magazine’s annual Best Places to Work in Academia 2010 survey.

Readers also ranked Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey as the top institution in the U.S. for the second straight year.

The online article discussing the survey in the July issue of the publication singles out a number of examples of high calibre research in the life sciences being undertaken at UQ.

These include biodiversity studies by UQ zoologist Professor Craig Franklin and mathematician and ecologist Professor Hugh Possingham; biofuels research by Professor Peter Gresshoff, Professor Lars Nielson and Ben Hankamer; and work on mosquito-borne disease by Professor Scott O’Neill.

Professor Franklin is quoted as saying: “UQ is at the forefront of tackling the conservation issues that this planet faces.”

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Max Lu said although the ranking was done by surveying 2300 scientists, it was “a true reflection of UQ's tremendous strengths and investment in infrastructure and people in the life sciences."

UQ is a newcomer to the survey. It has 1303 full-time life science researchers who receive $106 million in USD Federal funding.

UQ researchers published 14,595 papers in the Life Sciences, according to ISI Web of Knowledge Essential Science Indicators, during the period January 1, 2000 to February 28, 2010.

The papers received an average 14.34 citations per paper. The ranking results referred specifically to life science disciplines including Agricultural Sciences, Biology/Biochemistry, Clinical Medicine, Environment/Ecology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology/Genetics, Neuroscience/Behavior, Pharmacology/Toxicology, and Plant & Animal Science.

The Scientist magazine survey included factors such as job satisfaction, peers, infrastructure and environment, research resources, pay, management and policies, teaching and mentoring, tenure and promotion.

45 percent of its readers cited universities as the best places to work, with medical schools ranked as the next best places by 28 percent of readers. Other categories included research institutes (14 percent), hospitals and government (5 percent each) and other (3 percent).

Readers said they had stayed with their current employer for a number of years. The largest number of respondents (547) had been in their current position 5-9 years. The readers’ largest areas of work responsibilities were laboratory research (1774), writing papers and reports (1589) and teaching (1563).

The Top 10 International Institutions:
1. The University of Queensland; Australia
2. Weizmann Institute of Science; Rehovot, Israel
3. University of Dundee; Dundee, UK
4. John Innes Centre; Norwich, UK
5. Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Jerusalem, Israel
6. University of Alberta; Edmonton, Canada
7. INRA; Versailles, France
8. University of Nottingham; Nottingham, UK
9. University of Copenhagen; Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Dalhousie University; Halifax, Canada

The Top 10 U.S. Institutions:
1. Princeton University; Princeton, NJ
2. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; Memphis, TN
3. Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids; MI
4. J. David Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco; CA
5. The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation; Ardmore, OK
6. Trudeau Institute; Saranac Lake, NY
7. Children's Hospital Boston; Boston, MA
8. Calvin College; Grand Rapids, MI
9. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; Oklahoma City, OK
10. Institute for Systems Biology; Seattle, WA

The full article with detailed survey results can be found in the July issue of The Scientist and is available online at www.the-scientist.com/bptw.

Media: Jan King 0413 601 248