European Bioinformatics Institute

www.ebi.ac.uk
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European Bioinformatics Institute Reviews

Updated May 11, 2015
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3.8
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European Bioinformatics Institute Director Janet Thornton
Janet Thornton
3 Ratings

16 Employee Reviews

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  1. Software Engineer

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time

    Pros

    Great conditions, nice work place.

    Cons

    Usually small teams, not a lot of progress possible for senior engineers.


  2. Generally a good place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time

    Pros

    Lovely leafy campus shared with Sanger Institute, international atmosphere, academic values, lots of collaboration and mostly friendly collegiate environment. Work varies with groups depending on their focus on research, services or both.

    Cons

    Leaving after nine years rule is bypassed by the chosen few but it's not clear how. Career paths after leaving are often very uncertain, e.g. a common post "database curator" doesn't exist anywhere else, where do these jobs lead? Too easy to get lullled into false security - but not if you have your wits about you. Sometimes the EBI is stuck in the no-man's land between academia and industry.

    Advice to Management

    More transparency, have coding interviews for software engineers to ensure quality. Make a clearer distinction between software research, software engineering, "devops" and support roles - the title "software engineer" covers too wide range of roles and responsibilities.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Not bad but still disappointing

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Scientific Database Curator in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Scientific Database Curator in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great international atmosphere. Good work conditions, pay and benefits. Beautiful campus (used to be, don't know what it is now with all extensions.) Opportunities to attend many scientific conferences (much better than in most unioversities). I met some truly remarkable people at the EBI.

    Cons

    Career opportunities both within and after EBI are very limited. Normally you have to live after maximum of 9 years. For career and personal development sake, it is best to leave after 3 years but most people (like myself) take safe option to stay full 9 years, within whichI have progressed from a database curator to, well, senior database curator. This is a ridiculous job title and prospects finding a similar job which will pay at least on the same level are close to zero. There is a small (but, naturally, growing) number of people who are given rolling contracts. To justify that, the new group and team leader positions are constantly invented for no other good reason. The communication between different groups is very poor.
    The special international status of EMBL is a big problem for non-EU staff members. Normally, if you spend 4 years continuously working in the UK you are eligible for residency (indefinite leave to stay in the UK). However the time you work for the EBI does not count toward it and moreover, if you were previously employed in the UK for less than 4 years, you will have to start from zero after your gig at the EBI. Provided that you find a job in the UK, that is. So there is a real chance that after 9 years at the EBI (legally working in the UK!) you still will be forced to leave the country.

    Advice to Management

    Take responsibility for the future of your employees. Create opportunities for healthy academic growth. Either make it possible for hard-working personnel (especially in services) to get rolling contract without selling their soul and becoming mediocre managers, or make sure that 9 year rule is enforced for everybody, including current holders of rolling contracts (e.g. give max. 1 year warning and dismiss them).


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  5. Great place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Great salary and great benefits

    Cons

    They only offer 3 year contracts renewable up to three times, this means that you end up out of a job after nine years and sometimes it's very difficult to find a new job after you've been in the same position for a long time.

    Advice to Management

    Should consider giving permanent contracts to everyone, especially staff that are capable.


  6. As good as academia gets

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of freedom
    Opportunities to travel
    Great people
    Cross discipline interaction
    Leaving package
    Super facilities (gym, nursery, free bus to work...)

    Cons

    Freedom
    Management
    No carrier progression
    Every project reinvent the wheel
    Too much politics at times

    Advice to Management

    Develop a personal growth program


  7. Helpful (1)

    May be not the best for specialists in software development

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Scientific Software Developer in Hinxton, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Scientific Software Developer in Hinxton, England (UK)

    I have been working at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good salary and benefits.
    Very relaxed environment, contracts are very safe and nobody feels stressed and competitive (in a negative way).
    The campus is really beautiful, with a gym and relaxing areas.

    Cons

    The contracts are so safe that nobody feels competitive in a positive way either.
    Senior software developers probably won't learn anything. Requires better software development methodologies.
    The campus is away from Cambridge. If not using a car or the company bus, getting into Cambridge takes like an hour and a half.

    Advice to Management

    Please set more collaborations between groups, there is a lot of redundant work being done.
    Using agile software methodologies would also be nice.


  8. An outstanding center of excellence and a fantastic place of work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Staff in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Staff in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A international respected bio-science resource with a great ethos of work and collaboration. An opportunity to work with scientists and IT specialists from around the world with great senior leadership and vision. I strongly recommend the EBI as a place to work.

    Cons

    It can be difficult to progress up the scale of seniority, you share the work with people of great talent from around the world. There is a limit of 9 years absolute maximum placement, and quite often contracts are only 2-3 years with some possibility of extension.

    Advice to Management

    There is some scope for improved assessment of middle management skills and values.


  9. Senior Software Developer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Relaxed environment. Good facilities, with a wonderful campus grounds. Decent salary.

    Cons

    Requires better software methodology approaches, and enforcement. Flat hierarchies have their cons.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Pay is good, campus is lovely but support or communication from senior management could be drastically improved.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    People are working for the common good. Campus is lovely and some nice walks around it. The current Director is one of the best people I've worked for.

    Cons

    Senior management underneath the Director are the main issue. Lack of communication downwards and people are promoted to management when they aren't managers but great scientists. Lack of career progression, it's a great place to be if you don't wish to further your career but want good pay and conditions but are happy to sit out your time.

    Advice to Management

    Involve staff in changes. Discuss how it will affect their current role. By involving staff in the evolution of an institute means they feel part of it.


  11. Great benefits but stagnant environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Bioinformatics Scientist in Hinxton, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Bioinformatics Scientist in Hinxton, England (UK)

    I have been working at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    High pay and excellent benefits

    Cons

    Hierarchical structure, very difficult career progression within the 9 years rule



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