The Institute of Cancer Research Reviews | Glassdoor

The Institute of Cancer Research Reviews

Updated February 9, 2019
48 reviews

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3.5
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The Institute of Cancer Research Chief Executive and President Paul Workman
Paul Workman
11 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "good place to learn and be associated with cutting-edge science and research, good work environment" (in 5 reviews)

  • "Plenty of money to do research and good salary compared to other PhD positions in the UK" (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • "There is limited career progression unless you move" (in 5 reviews)

  • "Team leaders are often clueless and arrogant" (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Top place for PhD!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time

    Pros

    -Freedom
    -Student community
    -Lots of courses
    -Seminars
    -Making friends

    Cons

    -time pressure, students often confused,


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great facilities, be careful who you work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time

    Pros

    The facilities on offer are amazing and the pay is excellent

    Cons

    Can be let down by poor management and big egos

  3. "Postdoc"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant
    Current Employee - Research Assistant
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexible hours, remuneration, support, learning and development.

    Cons

    From engineering point of view, there is not much to progress


  4. "Busy cancer research clinical trials unit; good experience to see development of novel cancer drugs and patient benefit."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Clinical Data Manager in Sutton, London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Clinical Data Manager in Sutton, London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Strong independent cancer research focus with clear values (untainted from industry financial incentives), good work-life balance, great team mentality, communication of weekly news across all areas of research via email/intranet, clear support and training opportunities for employees, performance is rewarded with commitment to promotion from within.

    Cons

    Benefits typically seen in clinical trials companies (pharmaceuticals/CROs) not as great, high turnover in certain positions on an annual basis can leave areas short-staffed.

    Advice to Management

    Better interaction and understanding of separate departments’ work would be good, not just in upper-management positions.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "If you're thinking of doing a PhD here, be warned"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time

    Pros

    There are some good research teams with excellent leadership

    Cons

    1. Beware of the team leaders who haven't managed to retain anyone who has worked with them in academia. This should be a massive warning sign when considering joining a lab anywhere

    2. Unlike most universities, the ICR does not have a policy of a supervisory panel where a primary supervisor's advice and decisions regarding their student's work is checked regularly by another, more senior researcher with a good track record of getting their students through their PhD. Now this may not be a problem if your primary supervisor is already an experienced scientist, or an exceptional talented and insightful young scientist with good management skills. But good luck if you end up with a self-serving and ambitious yet inexperienced scientist suffering greatly (and rightly) from insecurities because they know they've just been riding the waves generated by other people's hard work and have yet to contribute anything substantial to science themselves. Cue endless unsuccessful submissions of low quality papers trying to add useless knowledge to the world of cancer, and you being blamed for every failure. You will end up having to write your thesis in your own time because you simply won't be allowed any in the lab.

    3. There is nothing anyone can really do to help you complete your PhD on time if you have the kind of supervisor described in #2. So make absolutely sure to speak directly and privately with existing members of a team if you're thinking of joining a team here. Find their work email, look them up on LinkedIn, do all you can because trust me, people in such teams will be truthful.

    4. The ICR already knows who these people are, and in all realism just pays lip service to its own anti-bullying and harassment policy.

    Advice to Management

    Read the reviews people leave about their line managers in the exit questionnaire, and act on them if you really want to avoid further negative press about the bullying culture at the ICR.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Well paid... that is it!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Scientific Officer in Sutton, East Midlands, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Scientific Officer in Sutton, East Midlands, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very good salary and great benefit (considering that you are not requested to do any job); decent facilities, sound reputation (as an heritage from the past, where perhaps ICR was actually good) that will improve visibility of your CV.

    Cons

    Extremely slow pace of work to the point of being very boring. The research approach is quite obsolete, clearly lagging behind the private sector. Team leaders are often clueless and arrogant. Yelling and non-professional behavior is common, as it is in all academic environments (so not surprising). No possibility for career growth, apart for Team leaders (as usual in all academic environments). I guess that the ICR used to be a very good Research Institute, perhaps till 10-15 years ago... now it is just a slow, obsolete non-functioning institute that keeps celebrating aged discoveries...

    Advice to Management

    Recruit better team leaders and engage more all employees in Institute-wide projects/ interactions. Challenge the people with clear INSTITUTE-focus objectives. Start from recruitment, which has to be division/department-led and not just decided by a team leader/professor.
    In other words make all employees feel part of the Institute/Department/Division, not just part of a small team led by a team leader/professor (who is often leading them nowhere). Otherwise, this is no different from Academia...


  7. "Clinical Data Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Clinical Data Manager in Sutton, London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Clinical Data Manager in Sutton, London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Brilliant organisation with fantastic values and history in cancer research. Currently undergoing a world-leading London Cancer Hub development at the Sutton site. Now has a very good stance on bullying and harassment following recent press reports on this matter. You feel like you are making a difference.

    Cons

    Certain departments can be isolated from each other (except management of course) due to different sites and multiple buildings on even 1 site.

    Advice to Management

    See cons

  8. "Postdoc training fellow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Friendly working environment for researchers.

    Cons

    Lack of funding to carry out work.
    Lack of mentoring for Postdocs.
    Very low morale among staff.

    Advice to Management

    Good work must be credited to boost morale.


  9. "Research quality"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    One of the top research institutes

    Cons

    Sutton branch is a bit out of London


  10. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Institute of Cancer Research full-time

    Pros

    Set me up for life couldn't have asked for a better PhD

    Cons

    Experience depends on lab and supervisor