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Great working environment, high scientific quality, good salary, possibilities for additional and social activities.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - PhD Student in Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)
Former Employee - PhD Student in Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)

I worked at EMBL full-time (more than 3 years)

Pros

- scientific excellence
- relatively flat hierarchies
- good salary
- good working atmosphere
- open door policy
- young staff
- high turnover rate
- lots of possibilities for extracurricular/social activities (extra seminars/sports/music/theater/...)
- great health insurance

Cons

- less social security (pension/ unemployment insurance) than in many other employment situations
- no opportunity to stay for longer than a fixed period (depending on type of position)

Advice to ManagementAdvice

- although there is quite a bit of transparency compared to many other institutes/companies, there is still room for improvement in that regard (e.g. on communicating certain decisions or developments/ future plans etc)

Recommends

20 Other Employee Reviews for EMBL (View Most Recent)

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Beware of the other side of the coin ...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - PhD Student ('Predoc') in Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)
    Former Employee - PhD Student ('Predoc') in Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)

    I worked at EMBL full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The positive aspects of working at EMBL are the access to numerous conferences organized at EMBL, the 'facilitation' in acquiring funding in some (but not all) research groups, the availability of 'core facilitiies' and advanced imaging equipment. PhD students enrolled in the PhD program obtain stipends with minimum bureaucracy. Postdoctoral fellows working on multidisciplinary projects can apply for a relatively well paid internal fellowship (EIPOD). Students and postdoctoral fellows benefiting from internal EMBL salaries, are paid considerably more that their counterparts in German Universities, yet within the norm of several European countries. Stipends and fellowships paid through EMBL are tax-free (but their holders also do not participate in the German social security and welfare system, unemployement and retirement schemes). Some (but not all) groups can benefit from extensive external funding allowing their employees to carry out ambitious projects that would not have been possible in many other institutions. The package available to young beginning group leaders is attractive, with considerable internal funding each year and the opportunity to recruit students through the PhD program without the necessity to raise funding independently. Recently a new building was constructed to house the administration and conference services. There is a cafeteria open until the late afternoon and a canteen serving vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals at lunch. Two small 'guesthouses' located 15 and 30 minutes away from the institute rent rooms to new arrivals and people wishing to live near EMBL, facilitating relocation. A small in-house childcare facility is available although it is quite expensive, compared to alternatives in the city. There are also in-house French and German courses offered (also quite expensive). A 'shuttle' service albeit arriving at conspicously early hours and infrequently in the evening is available to transport a small groups of people (9) to the guesthouses and city center.

    Cons

    Although the institute is quite prestigious, it is also quite elitist and competitive. Emphasis is put on high impact factor publications rather than a continuity of research. Frequently students and postdoctoral fellows leave EMBL after over three years research without any publications. The institute is designed to foster advanced method development and innovation. Thus, traditional 'non-risky' proects are not encouraged. Although the institute advertises as international, the atmosphere remains quintessentialy German, quite rigid and hierarchical, often impeding on a much needed exchange of ideas. The institute is quite isolated both geographically and intellectually. It is literally located on a hill quite far from the city and is difficult to access without a car as public transport is scarce if not absent at times. There is little to no contact with the prestigious University of Heidelberg due to inter-institute competition and a language barrier, often even within the groups of the small set of group leaders affiliated with both institutions. Frequently, research fellows are paid through alternative schemes such as through the university with considerably lower German university salary scale, rendering international relocation financialy difficult. The students and postdoctoral fellows that are paid through EMBL stipends and fellowships, do not participate in social security, welfare, unemployement and retirement schemes. Scientist by definition tend to study and begin contributing to their home country's social security schemes later than most. The inability to contribute neither to their home country's nor to the local social security scheme puts EMBL scientists at a considerable disadvantage as compared to their counterparts working in public academic European institutions, where this would be available and may be quite valuabe especially when funding runs out at the end of projects or during long review processes. The carreer opportunities are group- and publication-dependent, and a humble publication record after leaving EMBL is frequently far more poorly perceived outside of EMBL by future recruiters as compared to that of students or postdoctoral fellows from less prestigious institutions. Most scientists work very long hours, including weekends, there is little opporutnity to relax and blow off steam.
    The city of Heidelberg is quite small and quaint, but nevertheless a small rural German city. Opportunities for entertainment are quite limited to the non German-speaker. Despite the in-house German lessons (quite costly) and numerous courses available in the city, few can boast to speak fluent German after 3 years at EMBL, where the working language is English, and working hours do not permit true integration within the local community and immersion necessary for mastering the language.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    good. well paid and give good chances to get another job after

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)

    I have been working at EMBL

    Pros

    big research fundings, conferences every week, international enviroment, salary, health insurance (includes dentist etc ...)

    Cons

    long hours in the lab, very competitive enviroment

    Recommends
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