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Survey: Fox Chase Cancer Center Named "Best Place to Work for Postdocs"

PHILADELPHIA (February 17, 2004) -- A new survey conducted by The Scientist, an international news magazine for life scientists, names Fox Chase Cancer Center as the "Best Place to Work for Postdocs" in the United States. The 2004 survey results are published in the magazine's February 16 issue and online at Just four months ago, Fox Chase topped another of The Scientist's surveys -- "Best Place to Work in Academia."

Postdocs are researchers who choose to continue their training in active research laboratories after receiving their PhD or MD. "Give a postdoc an environment that encourages collegial work, and not competitive strife, and that person will respond with ample praise," say writers in The Scientist article. High-quality research tools and career preparation were tops on the minds of postdoctoral researchers.

The Scientist reports that Fox Chase "received commendations for the value of its scientific training, interdisciplinary development, and networking potential," a conclusion echoed by the director of Fox Chase's Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Program, Randy Strich, PhD.

"Postdoctoral fellows are drawn to Fox Chase Cancer Center by our reputation as a place to conduct outstanding basic and medical research," Strich says. "They stay because Fox Chase provides an environment that fosters interaction between scientists from many different disciplines. Our institution possesses varying scientific expertise such as the biophysical studies of protein folding to molecular genetics to epidemiological studies of cancers. As a result, a postdoc is exposed to as many different questions as means for solving them. This keeps the laboratory culture vibrant and interesting."

Postdocs get an abundance of experience at Fox Chase. "Because we are a free standing research institute, the postdoctoral fellows drive the research, much like graduate students do in a university setting. Our postdocs are the most important conduit by which new scientific results and expertise are relayed between laboratories," says Strich.

The Fox Chase postdoc program has established several programs to enhance the training and interactions among the postdoctoral community. For example, a monthly seminar series provides a forum for individual presentations. During Fox Chase's annual "Postdoc Day," fellows give oral and poster presentations on their research. The day also includes an opportunity to hear from outside speakers who discuss the latest science and potential career paths.

"Another advantage is that the low teaching and committee load carried by the principal investigators permits more accessibility to fellows for one-on-one interactions," adds Strich.

In addition, Fox Chase provides its postdoctoral researchers with access to travel and supplemental grants for research, as well as opportunities for independent postdoctoral research funding. Equally important to many, Fox Chase provides a nationally accredited daycare program, housing subsidies, health insurance, fitness facilities and planned social events.

The Scientist says this postdoc survey is the largest completed yet - receiving 3,529 usable responses from readers in Western Europe, Canada and the United States. The magazine invited its readers in non-tenured positions at noncommercial organizations to respond to the online survey. The survey asked respondents to assess their working conditions and environments by indicating their level of agreement with 45 criteria in 11 different areas. They also indicated which factors were important to them.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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