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Polling Postdocs

The Scientist's 2013 PostDoc Survey is out, offering a window into the hopes and dreams of your average life sciences postdoctoral researcher.

The magazine polled more than 2,000 postdocs around the country asking them to rank their institutions according to 38 criteria in nine categories including quality of training and mentoring, career development and networking opportunities, funding, and pay and benefits.

For the third year in a row, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass. took the top spot, "offering its postgraduate fellows more competitive salaries and benefits as well as access to high-quality scientific experience and guidance," The Scientist's Edyta Zielinska writes.

The institute also provides its 120 postdocs subsidized childcare, health care, and retirement planning, she notes.

In second place, moving up from seventh last year, is the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, where, Zielinska writes, postdocs receive healthcare and retirement plans along with less typical perks like free yoga classes and subsidized lunches.

Broadly speaking, Zielinska says, postdocs' quality of life has risen significantly in recent years, making it so that "balancing a demanding career with basic financial needs is no longer so challenging."

In fact, she writes, "given the noticeably increased institutional response [to postdoc needs] over the years," the Scientist survey is no longer a necessary outlet for postdoc demands. This year's will be the last.