I was reading the recent issue of The Scientist the other day and almost fell over while reading the article on the best places to work in academia. The university I'm at ranked third overall of all non-US institutions. I had to do a double take to make sure I was reading it correctly. Why was I so shocked? First off, that's third in the world (except the US). That's quite an accomplishment I'd say. However, I was most shocked because I hear all the bitching about the university on a daily from the academics that work there. I don't know if that's just because they like to complain for the sake of complaining or what. Plus, my supervisor left this third best place to work because he hated it here and he is now at a university in the US that didn't even rank on this survey. I'll have to remember to rub that in next time I talk to him. In fact in the last few years quite a few academics have left and taken positions elsewhere. I'm not sure whether this is a result of the grass always seeming greener on the other side or not. Either way, I'm sure those that left would also be surprised by the results of this survey. Who knew?
I wonder if the university would place as high if it were a survey of best places to do grad studies. I'm guessing probably not since on the last university grad student survey our department got rocked. On a positive note though that did motivate the department to improve things so it is getting better.