European Bioinformatics Institute Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

European Bioinformatics Institute Reviews

Updated 16 April 2019
47 reviews

Filter

Filter


3.7
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Ewan Birney and Rolf Apweiler
13 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

  1. "Great working environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bioinformatician in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Former Employee - Bioinformatician in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    It's a relax environment with plenty of collaboration opportunities.
    You can helping other scientists in your job especially lab scientists.
    There were opportunity to engage the public.
    Senior management was easy to talk to.
    A good place for work and life balance.

    Cons

    Not enough career advancement programmes.

    Advice to Management

    More career advancement training.


  2. "Amazing work experience"

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

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

    Pros

    It is a really relaxed environment

    Cons

    Not easy to get career advance

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Good 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 European Bioinformatics Institute full-time

    Pros

    Great atmosphere, great benefits too

    Cons

    Career progression could be improved


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Avoid unless you need family allowance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bioinformatician in Hinxton, England
    Former Employee - Bioinformatician in Hinxton, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    All the good things in EBI happened in the past: healthy and happy working environment, growth opportunity, good culture, good reputation, etc. All are lost due to bad management. The only pros remaining is the family allowance and the nursery on site.

    Cons

    Quantity over quality permeate all aspects of EBI from rapid release phases to the high number of outdated resources.
    This is a high tension and very divided work place where HR is always on the side of high managers.
    There is no training or anything to help you grow except the ones provided and sold to the outsiders. You ask how could a reseach institute survive if they don't teach their staff anything? Well, EBI historically relys on bringing highly talented and up to date individuals as fresh blood. They replace them in max 9 years. You ask why 9 years? Because under the German employement laws a company should provide proper pension scheme to staffs with 10+ years employement. So EMBL systematically avoids giving longer contract to avoid spending any fund on employees pension. But wait, as it gets worst: they take off 7% of your salary as pension. They do not invest it and just return the lump sum to you in 9 years when it is actually worth much less due to 3-5% inflation rate!
    A diverse institute on paper but very divided in flesh: every ethnicity eats their luch together. The groups actively compete for limited fundings and not much collaboration happens. Territories are marked and you could lose favor rapidly if caught talking to the wrong person/team during the tea break!
    The decisions are 100% top down: follow orders or face getting a bad recommendation letter!

    Advice to Management

    Provide proper pension
    Provide opportunities to grow
    Take care of people when you take so much out of them


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Good for 9 years but expect nothing more"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Hinxton, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Hinxton, England

    I worked at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time

    Pros

    Good salaries with annual increments and inflationary rise, nice perks like family and child allowance (per child), very comprehensive healthcare, great staff association, 30 days leave (plus extra discretionary days at Christmas). Great campus with good facilities and beautiful grounds, albeit very remote from anything else. Generally friendly environment and nice people, especially the admin staff. Overall good science but very fragmented - there could be much more collaboration to avoid multiple groups doing essentially the same tasks - but you wonder if this is avoided sometimes as group/team leaders could be worried they might then lose or have to share responsibilities, and hence potentially lose staff, and hence funding etc...

    Cons

    Absolutely no chance of career progression for the vast majority of staff. You work for a maximum nine years (or if you're lucky 9 years and 11 months) and you go. Ridiculous in service roles and a complete waste of time and money retraining new staff and losing significant experience and expertise. The 9 year rule makes sense for postdocs in research but doesn't work in a service environment.

     A small number (generally those they struggle to replace but have decided not to keep on, for whatever reason) get a few years extension past the nine years but then they're out. However, the chosen few, some of whom are widely known to be dreadful managers and many of whom are far from outstanding in their field, have stayed in post for decades and will probably remain until retirement on a huge pension. Plus everyone knows that far more staff are kept past 9 years at the HQ in Germany.

    Many admin-related things are heavily German-centric, including dreadful maternity leave. No clear way that resources/projects are evaluated across the board throughout the institute, so no real incentive to improve performance etc, and information seldom communicated from the top down in a timely manner (if at all) to the majority of staff.

    Advice to Management

    Give everyone who wants the option to stay past 9 years (including the receptionists!) the choice to interview for it based on their past work/achievements and skills using an impartial external interview panel (this bit is crucial), and repeat the assessment (with an equivalent panel) every five years - level the playing field as opposed to encouraging cronysim.


  6. "Excellent organisation. Above average."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Scientific Curator
    Former Employee - Scientific Curator
    Recommends

    I worked at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time

    Pros

    Excellent working environment. Amazing health insurance.

    Cons

    Far away from Cambridge (there are free shuttles). Nursery very expensive and with long waiting list.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great launchpad for data scientists, engineers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrator in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Former Employee - Administrator in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at European Bioinformatics Institute full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    If you are into data science, enjoy tricky development challenges, and want to make a positive difference for open science, you'd be hard pressed to find a better worplace than the EBI. Researchers can collaborate with exceptional molecular biologists throughout the intense biotech cluster of Cambridge, and with colleages at other EMBL sites. Keeping in mind that you can only be there for a limited time, it is a place where you can achieve alot and cross organizational/disciplinary boundaries. If you are into data and discovery biology, make every effort to avail yourself of opportunities here. I have never met a nicer group of people.

    Cons

    If you work outside of scientific and technical roles, approach with caution. An entrenched culture of bullying at EMBL headquarters spills over here. It is not a place to build a career, as the "9 year rule" builds in gradual demotivation. The supportive culture of the EBI makes it a place to focus on projects and visible achievement (rather than ensuring the machine is well-oiled and running) and the local leadership can be inspiring in that regard. Steer clear of EMBL headquarters and keep your end goals/exit plan in sight, and you will enjoy a few years of warm collegiality and unparalleled interestingness.

    Advice to Management

    Hopefully the new director general of EMBL will be able to address the systemic nepotism and unchecked bullying at EMBL headquarters that has increasingly affected the EBI - a place built as a meritocracy and staffed by dedicated professionals. Perhaps the new top-level leadership can begin by implementing some actual consequences to breaking the rules of the organisation's much-touted but managerially ignored anti-harassment policy. Note that this pertains primarily to administrative roles.

  8. "Very good place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Bioinformatician in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Current Employee - Bioinformatician in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    * family allowance
    * private GP
    * flexible work time

    Cons

    * far away from Cambridge, bad transportation
    * food is bad


  9. "EBI"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    Pros

    Great place to be in centre of bioinformatics

    Cons

    workload can be high most of them time


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Great organisation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Wonderful organisation filled with great people doing important work for humanity. The senior people are wonderful, as is the organisation. There are lots of clever and interesting people there, and you get to meet people from cultures from all over the world.

    Wonderful campus - caring people - great purpose.

    Cons

    Experiences vary from team to team, the organisation itself is fantastic, a handful of the teams aren't great. A lack of adequate HR policies to control the excesses of a handful of middle managers made the life of many staff I saw a misery (e.g. people regularly being in tears after being taken to pieces or pushed to resign) which is really unacceptable, and HR seemed powerless to correct these abuses of power. Unfortunately EBI's special diplomatic status also means that UK employment law does not apply there, so there's not that to fall back on either.

    Advice to Management

    Improve training of management on soft skills, implement company wide policies to reduce variation in teams, implement 360 degree review processes, etc.

    Similarly every team is doing their own thing in terms of development / languages / etc... which is quite inefficient. EBI functions soft of like a loose collection of different teams but would be far more impactful and effective if managed more like a cohesive company.