Oxford University Research Assistant Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Oxford University Research Assistant Reviews

Updated 17 September 2018
29 reviews

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Research Assistant

3.9
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Oxford University Chancellor Christopher Francis Patten
Christopher Francis Patten
6 Ratings

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  1. "Great Place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Oxford University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Working with PIs that are leaders in their fields, excellent chances to learn new skills or network with talented individuals or groups

    Cons

    Most research jobs limited to funding restrictions


  2. "Not so many opportunities for career progression"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Oxford University full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The job can be relatively stable but it depends very much on the line manager and their funding. The department has the right to employ people from outside the EU, and are usually quite helpful when it comes to relocation and covering visa costs (super expensive in the UK and getting worse every year). Standard amount of paid annual leave plus bank holidays. Some get-together events are organised. Generally other researchers can be helpful and it is possible to acquire new skills. Lots of talks and seminars to choose from.

    Cons

    Too much bureaucracy, some types of experiments are essentially undoable because of that. Very slow processing of paperwork, poor contacts with other departments. Too inefficient even for such a big organisation... Very complex purchasing system, also as a professional scientist you should not be expected to deal with it but at Oxford you do - I had to become proficient in EU and UK taxation codes because I needed to buy lab consumables. Brexit is already affecting funding opportunities as EU grants are becoming less available (now it is about 50% of total funding) and regulatory bodies (essential for clinical research) are leaving the UK. Almost no career progression, or pay rise, except for shuffling between different departments until you are too old and/or expensive to go anywhere else. If you are happy with this and don't have issues at work, they will give you preferential treatment if you apply for other similar positions at Oxford. Working culture can be too relaxed in appearance, like one hour long coffee breaks, but you are "naturally" expected to do late hours and weekends instead, to show your dedication. Bullying is common but not much is done about it, despite campaigns against it. Money is OK but Oxford is virtually the most expensive city in the UK, maybe after London, and postdoc salary is pretty much the same throughout the country, so you are worse off in Oxford than elsewhere. For example, you basically have to live with flatmates (alone is too expensive), which for a 30 yo with a supposedly prestigious social status and a PhD and all is a bit tough I think.

  3. "research assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Former Contractor - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University as a contractor (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Prestige associated with this employer

    Cons

    Typical University research environment but at least they are aware of employment issues and are trying to resolve.


  4. "Challenging work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Oxford University (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The work is interesting and challenging. Access to the frontier of the knowledge is relatively easy. Competent supervisor and colleagues.

    Cons

    The pay is small compared to the living cost in the city.


  5. "Great people, not so great bureaucracy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Freelancer - Research Assistant
    Former Freelancer - Research Assistant
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Stable working environment with strong labour protection. Autonomy in executing different tasks.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy is terrible -- endless forms, redundant layers of the hierarchy


  6. "Research Assistant at Oxford"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Oxford, England

    I have been working at Oxford University full-time

    Pros

    Great Working environment. State of the art research facilities. Highly qualified and world renown staff.

    Cons

    No annual bonus. No private health insurance.

    Advice to Management

    none


  7. "Research Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University (More than a year)

    Pros

    Exceptional staff members, facilities, access to university life

    Cons

    Pressure driven, but none more so than one would currently expect from academia

  8. "Administration back-log"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Oxford University full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The name/university brand, opportunities to attend talks from world experts, networking.

    Cons

    Very little training. HR is overworked/understaffed so there was a really long delay in sorting out visa arrangements. Providing information about resources and accommodations for individuals with learning disabilities are not well organized.

    Advice to Management

    More training opportunity and structure to the training. You can't expect everyone with diverse learning to just pick things up and know what to do. Also, more clear help for people with learning disabilities.


  9. "A prison with no roof"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Former Contractor - Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Oxford University as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    It was ranked the best university in the world

    Cons

    All the work you do is actually alone


  10. Helpful (1)

    "2 Year Postdoc at Oxford University"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Oxford, England
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Oxford, England

    Pros

    - Get to work with clever people
    - Access to state-of-the-art facilities
    - Beautiful location

    Cons

    - University administration is not very supportive of young researchers (especially postdocs)
    - Postdocs are not members of a college by default, which to an extent prevents them from integrating into the academic community at Oxford
    - Job uncertainty

    Advice to Management

    Oxford University should be more supportive of postdoctoral researchers, create more career development opportunities for them, and be more willing to contribute to research fellowships that do not pay full economic costs (FEC).