Research Scientist

Research scientists may find employment with universities, non-profit organizations, government agencies and private research companies. Their job description often includes working with other scientists such as biologists, chemists and physicists.

Research Science Degrees

Formal education is required to become a research scientist, including:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant area of study, such as chemistry, biology, physics or computer science
  • Master’s degree in chemistry, biology, physics, computer science or medical science
  • Ph.D. in chemistry, biology, physics, computer science or medical science

To acquire a position as a research scientist, a minimum of a master’s degree is essential. To find a position at the university level, a Ph.D. is needed.

Research Scientist Job Description

A research scientist approaches and analyzes questions in a laboratory setting. They identify and explore any number of concepts dependent on the scientific field in which they specialize. Research scientists often do research that contributes to development in a commercial industry as with the creation of new products, medications or services.

Research scientists act like detectives, examining problems and coming up with solutions through experiments and research. In the medical science field, a research scientist might work with a formulation group focusing on specific treatments, procedures or pharmaceuticals. In other scientific fields, a research scientist could work with a team to determine whether a particular product or process is workable.

Depending on the area of specialty, a research scientist may do any of the following:

  • Communicate with a group or team to solve a specific scientific problem.
  • Collect and interpret data.
  • Perform experiments.
  • Write scientific reports.
  • Solve problems related to science and medicine.
  • Research products and services to be offered commercially.
  • Work with a formulation group to examine specific treatments and procedures in the medical field.

Successful research scientists possess strong communication skills. They often publish scientific articles in journals and other publications. They may be required to present scientific findings orally. Due to the need to follow repeated procedures and keep accurate records of findings, research scientists need to be detail oriented and analytical in their thinking.

Research Scientist Fields

  • Laboratory Tester

    A laboratory tester, sometimes known as a science technician, is a professional trained to operate and maintain laboratory equipment, perform experiments, and observe and record test results. Laboratory testers are employed by numerous businesses, institutions and agencies.

  • Laboratory Analyst

    A laboratory analyst, also known as a laboratory technologist, is a professional trained to conduct and analyze lab-based experiments. They also ensure the proper use and function of related instruments, specimens and equipment.

  • Laboratory Technician

    A laboratory technician, sometimes known as a science technician, is a professional trained to conduct tests in a laboratory setting and help maintain the safety and function of lab instruments and equipment. Laboratory technicians perform numerous problem-solving and product safety tests for a variety of industries, from pharmaceutical, forensic and environmental science, to agriculture and petrochemistry.



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