Dalhousie tops the list

The Scientist releases Best Places to Work in Academia

- October 30, 2007

Alison Thompson enjoys the collegiality of the Department of Chemistry. (Nick Pearce photo)

Four years ago, atmospheric scientist Randall Martin came to Dalhousie from Harvard and hasn’t looked back since.

“Here at Dal, I feel very free to pursue my interests,” says Dr. Martin, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science. “As an academic, that intellectual freedom is paramount.”

It’s scientists like Dr. Martin that helped Dalhousie University top the list of The Scientist’s Best Places to Work in Academia. Results of an international survey will be published in the prestigious magazine’s new issue, expected to hit newsstands Thursday, Nov. 1.

The Scientist’s annual list divides research and academic institutions into American and international lists. Dalhousie is ranked number-one in the international category, over the University of Nottingham in the U.K., University of Helsinki in Finland and University of Dundee, also in the U.K. The only other Canadian university to crack the top-10 is the University of Alberta in Edmonton at number five.

Dalhousie is a great place to work, adds Dr. Martin, because of the high level of cooperation that exists between professors from different departments and faculties at Dalhousie, and even at other research institutions in Halifax. Dr. Martin’s research involves satellite remote sensing and global modeling to examine the composition of the atmosphere.

The chance to collaborate is what Cheryl Kozey, professor with the School of Physiotherapy, likes about Dal too.

“People at Dal are great collaborators. And for me, that’s really the key,” says Dr. Kozey, whose research in musculoskeletal health puts her in close contact with orthopedic surgeons, kinesiology and engineering professors, and a team of students, from PhD candidates to undergrads.

“Here at Dalhousie, we’re surrounded by hospitals. The community is so small — it’s really worked to help us develop excellent relationships. And sometimes that doesn’t happen at larger universities.”

Alison Thompson enjoys coming to work because of collegial and helpful people she interacts with in the Department of Chemistry. Instead of being competitive, professors in her department support each other and celebrate each other’s successes, she says.

“I regard my competition as the rest of the Canada and the rest of the world,” says Dr. Thompson, associate professor. “People here can only benefit by my success, as I do by theirs … with widespread recognition, the reputation of the whole department is enhanced.”

Sara Kirk arrived at Dalhousie just 10 months ago from Leeds University in the U.K. Dr. Kirk, Canada Research Chair in Health Services, says Dalhousie’s appeal is tied closely to its location. She and her family enjoy Nova Scotia’s easy-going lifestyle and natural beauty.

“Moving here was just the best possible thing we could do for my kids. They love their school and the beach is just 10 minutes down the road,” says Dr. Kirk, the mother of seven-year-old twins.

“For me, Dalhousie is the icing on the cake.”


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