Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  www.hhmi.org
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Howard Hughes Medical Institute Reviews

Updated Jul 21, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.9 72 reviews

59% Approve of the CEO

Howard Hughes Medical Institute President Robert Tjian

Robert Tjian

(22 ratings)

77% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great benefits package even though its gotten more expensive each year for the past few years(in 15 reviews)

  • Most managers promote work/life balance(in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • Career development is completely dependent on whether or not your supervisor supports your development(in 4 reviews)

  • Personal growth is not encouraged and career opportunities are few and far between(in 3 reviews)

72 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    Good employer to have

    Postdoctoral Researcher (Former Employee) Boston, MA

    ProsGreat benefits, particularly health & dental. One of the best health insurances in the USA, if not the best.
    Organization-wise, they are very good, particularly HR-department.
    Generous with covering reimbursement costs.

    ConsSometimes too much work is required in order to be successful.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Janelia Farms academic internship

    Research Assistant (Former Employee) Ashburn, VA

    ProsWOW, this place is fantastic. There is an on-site gym and convenience store, roof-top gardens, the views from the building are unbeatable (and the building is stunning as well). The environment is designed to encourage discussion between all the different disciplines at Janelia, the lunch room consists of several very large round tables where you often meet new people and discuss what you are working on. There is an on-site cafeteria that serves up delicious food at at very cheap cost, and all fruit/coffee/tea is free. Bright Horizons is also on-site. If you have the opportunity to work here, it is well worth it.

    ConsOne downside is that the pay for technicians is on the lower side of the spectrum. However, with all the added bonuses that come along with working there it makes it very worthwhile.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great salaries for a non-profit; stellar benefits; stimulating scientific environment.

    Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee) Ashburn, VA

    ProsBeautiful campus. Fun and well thought out social events. There's a gym with classes, great salad bar in the cafeteria and restaurant with prices from the 1980s. Decent social scene at the on-site restaurant if you live on campus, considering you're in the suburbs.

    ConsEven PIs don't have great job security since they're reviewed every 5-6 years (there's no tenure here). Not quite as laid back as a University and doesn't have the same feel as a University . The non-scientists (which probably outnumber the scientists) work 9-5 and do not dress like they're in academia, which allows a little bit of a corporate feel to sneak in which is completely missing in a University setting. And somewhat ironically the support staff, HR and core facility people have more job security than the scientists, even though science is the core mission of HHMI.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
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    Lots of good science

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsCan be good pay, PTO great, certain labs are great to work for

    ConsFor technical help the chance to grow can be limited

    Advice to Senior ManagementRemember who you are there for

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

     

    Research Fellow at HHMI

    Research Fellow (Former Employee) Boston, MA

    ProsOutstanding science, you get to work with extremely smart people. Benefits for postdocs are excellent.

    ConsFunding for Research fellows is restricted to 5 yrs. Work-life balance depends on who your Principal Investigator is.

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    Great!

    Research Specialist (Current Employee) La Jolla, CA

    ProsHHMI is one of the best scientific institutes in the world. Flexible schedules, personal time-off and supportive infrastructure make working at HHMI great.

    ConsAs an independent academic type of institute, the salaries for younger scientist (non-faculty members) is below what is offered by industry.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    2 people found this helpful  

    Great place for biomedical research

    (Former Employee)

    ProsResearch is funded at realistic levels, and time frames, for today's biomedical research labs. Pay and benefits are competitive. Administrative support is good.

    ConsCareer development is completely dependent on whether or not your supervisor supports your development. Employees can't evaluate their supervisors. Few career opportunities because the model outside of headquarters is the traditional university hierarchy.

    Advice to Senior ManagementOne less well-known mission of HHMI is science education, and more emphasis on that for all research staff is needed. Investigators need to support career development in a substantive way for everyone they supervise, not just pay lip service to it. The next breakthrough idea may not come from a postdoc or grad student but the lab assistant.

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    Very good

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsStable, relaxed pace of work. Encouraged to learn new skills and do things independently. Good work life balance.

    ConsLow opportunity for advancement. Difficult to have large impact.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNot sure.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    A great research experience

    Research Associate (Former Employee) Dallas, TX

    ProsAn HHMI Investigator is generally speaking an established and productive scientist. Funding is secure over a five-year period. The benefits package is excellent. My own experience as a postdoctoral fellow in an HHMI lab was great, I highly recommend it.

    ConsMaintenance of HHMI Investigator status is linked to productivity and to some extent fluctuations of the stock market (since HHMI funded by a large private endowment). Thus depending on the times, HHMI labs can be highly competitive environments. Of course, this depends a great deal on the nature of the investigator, the same as any academic lab environment.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Poor leadership, almost purposeful sabotage

    Laboratory Assistant (Current Employee) Ashburn, VA

    ProsThe benefits are awesome, quite liberal with sick leave and PTO, and generous holidays. A beautiful campus (Ashburn) obviously showcasing HHMI's endowment fund, great work life for the main scientists, and free coffee/tea with subsidized food.

    ConsPeople are clique-y and gossipy perhaps due to the terrible communications and lack of transparency, even within a single project meant to be working together. As others have mentioned, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing and people are often very secretive even with information needed collaboratively. The company obviously sucks up to visiting scientists and bigwigs to save face, but they will turn on you in an instant and kick you to the curb --regardless of your contributions to the company. Heaven forbid you are anyone without a PhD, who are treated lower than dirt.

    There's almost a draconian form of management and they have lost many a great talent and minds because they refuse to address what makes employees unhappy; morale is low campus-wide and management is in a constant state of denial. There is almost always a constant power struggle at every level, such that work can't be done without people bickering. Actual teamwork is rare.

    There isn't any room for growth; it is almost as if they purposely keep you down and out of the loop so that you can't command more recognition. A person could be denied a promotion or a better opening because they could use you at that lower position with lower pay. If you were such a valuable asset, why not treat you as such so you won't leave? Even if you put in long hours, contribute so much to a project, it is doubtful to get any recognition; deadlines can be missed and key members can be lost just because personal conflicts can't be resolved.

    Their reasoning for salaries/titles are ridiculous and not merit-based; if you can bear it long enough, you will get rewarded in the long run by time alone, not effort, hard work, or contributions. Little incentive to be loyal to a leader that is not loyal to its employees. When being surrounded by luxury and money being thrown around, denials due to budget restrictions and menial salaries seem at odds with the company values.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGood benefits do not always make up for terrible salaries. Find reasons why employees are not engaged, maybe you won't have to spend so much on sick time. Cut the passive aggression throughout the building. Stop playing favorites and babying PhDs to save face. Develop and promote teamwork. Improve scientific communication and transparency within building. Give rewards based on merit, contribution, and effort; not on things done in the past, a person's background, or connections.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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