Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

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Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Reviews

Updated 4 April, 2015
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  1. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research--once a great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Microbiologist in Silver Spring, MD (US)
    Former Employee - Research Microbiologist in Silver Spring, MD (US)

    I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    There were a great many different research projects ongoing from vaccine research and development to the multi-drug resistant organisms and how they work. There are opportunities to work in BSL 1 thru 3, with various pathogens both bacterial and viral. Most of the work in some way will benefit the US Military that are fighting overseas in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

    Cons

    I retired in Nov 2011 and had knee replacement surgery. At 62, I was at the peak of my career there in vaccine R&D and found that it was very difficult to get re-hired as a contractor, even though the bulk of my career (32 years) was spent between WRAIR at 16th and Dahlia in the District and on Brookville Dr. In order to be considered you must contact the correct contractor for very specific jobs. There are a variety of nationalities working there, both foreign nationals as well as US citizens as well as US Military both officers and enlisted. Sometimes the cultural differences as well as the military vs civilian differences require a great deal of patience and tolerance.

    Advice to Management

    Open up the hiring to retirees, especially those who have gained a great deal of experience and know how to navigate the bureaucracy and have had the necessary experience to deal with both civilian and military as well as US citizens and foreign nationals.

  2. Lots of free time for students

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Student Research Technician in Silver Spring, MD (US)
    Current Employee - Student Research Technician in Silver Spring, MD (US)

    I have been working at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Lots of free time for completing homework; lots of great opportunities for research experience; hands on experience on studies; flexible hours.

    Cons

    Little to no cycling when scheduling over night shifts.

  3. very relaxed but must be proactive

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Technician in Silver Spring, MD (US)
    Former Employee - Research Technician in Silver Spring, MD (US)

    I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    very relaxed and flexible environment. very low stress. Perfect job for a student. Some groups are doing some great research and there are opportunities for collaborations and being proactive on other studies. Open 24/7, gym and showers, play soccer on fridays. Made a number of good friends.

    Cons

    Sometimes was not challenging at all. it was quite easy to do nothing all day and just goof around. the research itself seemed kinda lacking and slow paced, especially compared to NIH. Publications were mostly non-existent and the workforce was often not very ambitious.

    Advice to Management

    There is not much room for growth within the groups as positions are usually static. Maybe create promotions i.e. lab tech 1, 2, 3 etc with pay increases depending on performance.

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  5. Noble idea, poor execution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral in Silver Spring, MD (US)
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral in Silver Spring, MD (US)

    I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    place is deserted after 5 so no problems with work-life balance. most labs are nice and office culture friendly.

    Cons

    Building is falling down - bathrooms have been broken for weeks, walls have holes still not repaired from pipes bursting in winter. Doors broken for months. Recycling contract never got renewed so boxes left everywhere. Cafeteria is terrible, sometimes not open and no one is notified - closest food a 20min drive away. Bureaucracy is ridiculous - 90 day approval to go to a conference even if you only got invited in less than that time. Academics treated badly because they are not military - no communication about anything occurring on the campus. Training takes way too much time, especially when the training is geared to the military and not to the academics. Postdocs ignored and treated like they are non-existent. Mandatory training consists or lectures where they treat you like school children. No career development. Building isolated and transport is difficult.

    Advice to Management

    Treat everyone equally, regardless of military status. Fix building space and increase transport options.

  6. Contract Research Position

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Research Technologist in Silver Spring, MD (US)
    Former Contractor - Research Technologist in Silver Spring, MD (US)

    I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research as a contractor (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Time off policies were really good. Very family friendly oriented institution. Work-Life balance was a great plus. I was able to gain professional growth by performing side experiments with intent to publish outside the scope of my department projects.

    Cons

    There is an unsaid hierarchy between military vs civilian DOD employees vs contract workers. In that order to be exact. Usually the the department heads are enlisted and lab staff are contractors. This made for a very unstable situation in that the PI's cycle in and out every couple years. If the vision of one was not the vision of the next, projects were constantly being re-prioritized based on the PI's "vision".

    Advice to Management

    I was a contract worker thru CRM - the management was amazing, they take care of their employees.

  7. WRAIR experience

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

    I have been working at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Diversity of opportunities for research, DOD funding opportunities, translational research

    Cons

    Government bureaucracy, turn over of administration based on military assignment

  8. Great Job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Lab Technician in Silver Spring, MD (US)
    Former Contractor - Lab Technician in Silver Spring, MD (US)

    I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research as a contractor (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Very friendly environment. Flexible work hours. If you worked in a research lab, you had to wear covered shoes but aside from that, you could dress casually.

    Cons

    Promotions were hard to get.

  9. Satisfying if slightly hectic

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

    Pros

    Good Pay. Interesting job.Got to work with kids and science.

    Cons

    Crazy supervisors, lack of communication and general craziness.

  10. Nepitism and incompetant leadership

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    There are some employees there that are doing the right thing (no personal agenda. They are good stewards of the taxpayers dollars.

    Cons

    HR Department practicesnepitism throughout the command, most previlent in HR and command suite, Poor Leadership, No transparency down through chain of command, and to many personal agendas througout senior leadership with bad residual effects.

    Advice to Management

    People do not organizations, they leave leadership

  11. Good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate in Silver Spring, MD (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate in Silver Spring, MD (US)

    I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Lots of freedom and interesting work; I was in the clinical research side and it was lot of fun b/c the work and the research was interesting.

    Cons

    Not lot of support system. If you are on the bottom of the toting pole, then good luck because you will be blamed for things that you did not do. No accountability whatsoever. Good luck if you are a contractor and not a government employee b/c you will not be climbing the proverbial ladder.

    Advice to Management

    Better support system.

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