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Become A Research And Development Scientist

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Working As A Research And Development Scientist

  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $78,006

    Average Salary

What Does A Research And Development Scientist Do

A Research And Development Scientist is focused on planning and conducting experiments and analyzing results. They work in various industries, such as bioinformatics, biotechnology, and cancer studies.

How To Become A Research And Development Scientist

Medical scientists typically have a Ph.D., usually in biology or a related life science. Some medical scientists get a medical degree instead of a Ph.D., but prefer doing research to practicing as a physician.


Students planning careers as medical scientists typically pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a related field. Undergraduate students benefit from taking a broad range of classes, including life sciences, physical sciences, and math. Students also typically take courses that develop communication and writing skills, because they must learn to write grants effectively and publish research findings.

After students have completed their undergraduate studies, they typically enter Ph.D. programs. Dual-degree programs are available that pair a Ph.D. with a range of specialized medical degrees. A few degree programs that are commonly paired with Ph.D. studies are Medical Doctor (M.D.), Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.), Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.), and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). Whereas Ph.D. studies focus on research methods, such as project design and data interpretation, students in dual-degree programs learn both the clinical skills needed to be a physician and the research skills needed to be a scientist.

Graduate programs emphasize both laboratory work and original research. These programs offer prospective medical scientists the opportunity to develop their experiments and, sometimes, to supervise undergraduates. Ph.D. programs culminate in a thesis that the candidate presents before a committee of professors. Students may specialize in a particular field, such as gerontology, neurology, or cancer.

Those who go to medical school spend most of the first 2 years in labs and classrooms, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, psychology, microbiology, pathology, medical ethics, and medical law. They also learn how to record medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses. They may be required to participate in residency programs, meeting the same requirements that physicians and surgeons have to fulfill.

Medical scientists often continue their education with postdoctoral work. Postdoctoral work provides additional and more independent lab experience, including experience in specific processes and techniques such as gene splicing, which is transferable to other research projects.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Medical scientists primarily conduct research and typically do not need licenses or certifications. However, those who administer drugs, gene therapy, or otherwise practice medicine on patients in clinical trials or a private practice need a license to practice as a physician.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Communication is critical, because medical scientists must be able to explain their conclusions. In addition, medical scientists write grant proposals, because grants often are required to fund their research.

Critical-thinking skills. Medical scientists must use their expertise to determine the best method for solving a specific research question.

Data-analysis skills. Medical scientists use statistical techniques, so that they can properly quantify and analyze health research questions.

Decisionmaking skills. Medical scientists must determine what research questions to ask, how best to investigate the questions, and what data will best answer the questions.

Observation skills. Medical scientists conduct experiments that require precise observation of samples and other health data. Any mistake could lead to inconclusive or misleading results.

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Research And Development Scientist jobs

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Real Research And Development Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research & Development (Biotechnology) Nygard, Inc. New York, NY Sep 09, 2015 $180,000
Chief Technologiest, Research and Development Delta Galil USA, Inc. Beaverton, OR Jul 01, 2015 $160,000
Supervisor-Analytical R & D Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. Cranbury, NJ Sep 30, 2015 $144,310
R & D Researcher Agilent Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 14, 2015 $133,000
R&D Research and Innovation Scientist Neutraderm, Inc. CA Jun 24, 2016 $126,402
R&D Scientist Engineer (LWR Fuel Expert) Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC Idaho Falls, ID Jul 29, 2016 $125,000
Research & Development Scientist ABH Nature's Product Farmingdale, NY Apr 01, 2015 $120,000
Research & Development (Biotechnology) Nygard, Inc. New York, NY Sep 09, 2015 $120,000
Research and Development Scientist and Engineer The Board of Trustees of The Leland Stanford, Jr. University Stanford, CA Jun 27, 2016 $117,500
Research and Development Scientist Hexion, Inc. Stafford, TX Dec 20, 2015 $112,262
Scientist III R&D Honeywell International Inc. Redmond, WA May 09, 2016 $108,000
Scientist II, Research and Development Xerox Business Services, LLC Webster, NY Nov 05, 2016 $108,000
Scientist II, Research and Development Xerox Business Services, LLC Webster, NY May 11, 2016 $108,000
Scientist I-Nuclease R&D Bluebird Bio, Inc. Cambridge, MA Sep 23, 2015 $89,523 -
R&D Scientist The Dow Chemical Company Midland, MI Jan 09, 2016 $88,152 -
R&D Scientist Anderson Development Company Adrian, MI Jul 11, 2016 $88,010
Research and Development Scientist Fiber-Line Management, Inc. Hatfield, PA Dec 14, 2015 $88,000
Research and Development Scientist Utopiacompression Corporation Los Angeles, CA Sep 16, 2015 $88,000
R & D Scientist Pacific Integrated Energy, Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 09, 2016 $85,000
R&D Scientist-Upstream Innovation The J.M. Smucker Company CA Dec 09, 2016 $85,000
R&D Scientist II Heraeus Precious Metals North America Conshohocken, LLC West Conshohocken, PA Aug 09, 2016 $85,000
R&D Scientist II General Mills, Inc. Minneapolis, MN Sep 02, 2015 $75,109 -
Research and Development Food Scientist General Mills, Inc. Minneapolis, MN Aug 03, 2015 $75,109 -
Senior R&D Scientist Trinity Biotech PLC Kansas City, MO Aug 09, 2016 $75,000
R&D Scientist (Materials Scientist) Materials Development, Inc. Evanston, IL Aug 30, 2016 $75,000
Research & Development Scientist Granules Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Chantilly, VA Apr 02, 2016 $75,000
R & D Delivery Scientist II Glanbia Nutritionals, Inc. Twin Falls, ID Apr 09, 2016 $75,000
Research and Development Scientist & Engineer 1 The Board of Trustees of The Leland Stanford, Jr. University Stanford, CA Feb 11, 2015 $75,000
Research & Development Scientist Junior Biomune Company Lenexa, KS Sep 17, 2015 $75,000

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Top Skills for A Research And Development Scientist


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Top Research And Development Scientist Skills

  1. New Product Development
  2. Method Development
  3. R
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted formulation work in the laboratory relating to new product development and product enhancements.
  • Promoted to Supervisor from Senior Method Development Chemist after 1 year.
  • Assisted clients, which included numerous Fortune 500 companies, with Y2K readiness programs.
  • Coordinated all union trades for testing and laboratory equipment fabrication for the entire electronics laboratory.
  • Developed partnership and collaborative research projects with leading academic research groups.

Top Research And Development Scientist Employers

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Research And Development Scientist Videos

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USANA Research & Development Video | USANA Video