US Naval Research Laboratory Postdoctoral Fellow Reviews

Updated 29 May 2020

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4.3
71%
Recommend to a Friend
0%
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US Naval Research Laboratory Commanding Officer Scott D Moran
Scott D Moran
1 Rating
  1. "Stepping stone"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The laboratory was (as of 2018) a decent place to gain additional experience prior to starting a career. Decent post-doc pay

    Cons

    Facilities are crumbling; projects are slow; funding is insecure.

  2. "Excellent Postdoc Opportunity"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Recommends

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great environment for developing your research skills and networking for better jobs after your postdoc is complete

    Cons

    The government is a painfully slow entity to work with. It can take several months to get any research equipment ordered.

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  3. "Great research institution"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    They have a premier research environment.

    Cons

    There is too much security screening

  4. "Great Post Doc Opportunity"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - NRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    Lots of excellent equipment and instruments, knowledgeable co-workers, friendly environment. Opens doors to other government jobs: DoE, DoD, DARPA, DTRA, etc.

    Cons

    Security clearance and IT staff can make it difficult to get up and running quickly (but it's understandable). Difficult to install any foreign software - must have IT approval. Sometimes there isn't any substitute for these types of programs and can slow down progress.

  5. "Post-Doc"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory for less than a year

    Pros

    Great place for connections and a lot of very smart, knowledgeable personnel; a good place to start a career in scientific research.

    Cons

    Depending upon your division, the facilities may be out-dated. Purchasing is a problem; it takes a long-time for orders to be fulfilled.

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  6. Helpful (8)

    "Terrible advising for postdocs"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good facilities for some fields (nanotechnology). Great pay for postdocs, when compared to universities.

    Cons

    Terrible facilities for other fields (combustion). I keep asking for an exhaust system to be installed so I wouldn’t poison myself, but nothing ever happened. It’s very clear that the decision makers don’t care about employee morale, otherwise the facilities wouldn’t be so old, and things like bike racks wouldn’t be so difficult to come by. Advising can be a real crapshoot. Federal employees have to take on postdocs for the same reasons professors have to take on grad students, to help pay the bills. But the federal employees don’t have a tenure equivalent to work toward after which things slow down. Instead they have to play a game of cycling postdocs in and out to keep bringing in money. NRL also makes the federal employees compete against each other for internal funding (where most of the money comes from), so having postdocs that can spend that money is very important for the federal employees. Worst of all, any federal employee can be an advisor to a postdoc as long as they’ve had their Ph.D. for a number of years (5, I think). There is no check on whether that advisor can actually be a good advisor. Incompetence is common. When a postdoc is brought on with the promise of funding, there is no guarantee that funding will remain for the tenure of the postdoc. I found myself being required to do research that was nothing like the project I was promised when I applied, with an advisor that didn’t care about the project. Advisors can also promise funding and then never deliver. HR won’t hold them accountable because postdocs aren’t employees. Finally, postdocs are frequently lured to NRL with the promise of a federal position in the future. This is nowhere near as common as it appears. Almost all the feds were formerly postdocs, but there is a much higher percent of people who were postdocs at NRL that were not hired on as federal employees.

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  7. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting research"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Recommends

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory

    Pros

    Great opportunities and exciting research.

    Cons

    Soft money and very directed research.

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