NIH Reviews

Updated March 31, 2015
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4.0
366 Reviews
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NIH Director Francis S. Collins
Francis S. Collins
150 Ratings

Pros
  • The work/life balance, as well as the ability to promote are very good (in 11 reviews)

  • Access to cutting edge science, collaborators, and instrumentation (in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • not so ambitious; administrative red tape (in 13 reviews)

  • Not so many grant writing training opportunities (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Outstanding place to work; unique work environment

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

    I have been working at NIH full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Outstanding mission; enterprising smart individuals all around for stimulation. Supportive work environment

    Cons

    onerous governmental bureaucracy at times; gulf at times between high level management and rank and file

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. Great Research Experience in advanced sciences

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Fellow in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Research Fellow in Bethesda, MD

    I have been working at NIH

    Pros

    Exposure to brilliant scientists and seimnars

    Cons

    Work life balance is poor

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better pay and work life balance

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. first year postdoc

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

    I have been working at NIH

    Pros

    pays much more than academic institutions for a postdoc. best health insurance

    Cons

    not found one yet

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  5. great institution!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Analyst
    Former Employee - Program Analyst

    I worked at NIH

    Pros

    flexible hours, good mentorship, good employee benefits. Strong leadership, independent work. fair vacation. understanding work-life balance. Interesting work, engaging with key leaders in the field.

    Cons

    office culture, many fed's who were disengaged and unhappy with their work, but remained for fed benefits. Not the most inspiring office culture, very bureaucratic.

    Recommends
  6. Develop your academic career in a sheltered environment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Bethesda, MD
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Bethesda, MD

    I worked at NIH full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Compared to extramural research, there are significant benefits to working intramurally: No teaching, no grant writing and yet plentiful resources. Most labs are in the top 10% of their field. There are many institutionalized support structures for trainees, especially for those from foreign countries. The generally spirit is to get people to leave after finishing their projects quickly (2-4 years), but some people decide to and can stay longer. After 8 years it is up (meaning a cushy government FTE position as a staff scientist) or out. Foreigners are generally expected to return to their home countries, unless they can secure a faculty position elsewhere.

    Cons

    Compared to Ivy-League schools and other R1 institutions, you will generally sense a lack of competitiveness at NIH that is an inevitably consequence from the lack of fight over resources. Some people thus get lured into a false sense of security. Postdocs have practically no long-term perspective at NIH. It is up to the individual to not forget that they are facing stiff competition outside the sheltering walls of NIH.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    NIH would benefit a lot from not being shoed in as just another government institution, at least on the research side. The culture conflict between scientists, who generally do not abide to office hours, have a need for extensive conference travel etc. and the administrative bureaucracy can cause significant friction.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. Great resources for postdocs, takes some effort and luck to access them

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Bethesda, MD
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Bethesda, MD

    I worked at NIH full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    If you need to find someone familiar with a technique, you can find an expert in nearly anything on campus.
    The other postdocs are collegial and open to helping each other

    Cons

    The bureaucracy is spectacular. Just brace yourself.
    Since there's lots of structure, you can usually find someone to help with problem solving (i.e. boss issues, health care access), but the same problems exist there as at all academic research institutions and governmental departments.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Getting anonymous feedback from trainees to Principal Investigators is nearly impossible without jeopardizing the trainees' careers, but that's a problem that should be worked on. Maybe longitudinal 360-degree employee reviews?

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. NIH, a perfect place for biologists

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Bethesda, MD
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Bethesda, MD

    I worked at NIH

    Pros

    excellent infrastructure, training, great supervision

    Cons

    no bonus, hard to climb the career ladder

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. research at NIH

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

    I have been working at NIH

    Pros

    Great research facilities, easy to collaborate within and between the institutes

    Cons

    due to budget cuts ordering equipment is sometimes challenging

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    easier transparency how the budget is distributed among the institutes

    Recommends
  10. Very enriching research experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Research Intern in Bethesda, MD
    Former Intern - Research Intern in Bethesda, MD

    I worked at NIH as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Many opportunities to learn, many on-campus talks, seminars, etc.

    Cons

    Hard to do meaningful work as an intern, but understandable as most researchers have PhD-level education.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to create more opportunities for interns to interact and learn from each other

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. Postdoc in NIH

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at NIH

    Pros

    Great experience, freedom to develop my ideas and easy to establish collaborations.

    Cons

    It is temporal, up to five years.

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