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Become A Research Fellow

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Working As A Research Fellow

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

  • $50,715

    Average Salary

What Does A Research Fellow Do

A Research Fellow develops research objectives, projects, and proposals, and evaluates their outcomes. They also ensure that research fits with the organization's strategy, policy, procedures, and funder requirements.

How To Become A Research Fellow

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 Fellow jobs

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Research Fellow Demographic


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Asian

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Chinese

  • German

  • Mandarin

  • Russian

  • Japanese

  • Italian

  • Arabic

  • Hindi

  • Portuguese

  • Korean

  • Cantonese

  • Greek

  • Carrier

  • Urdu

  • Hebrew

  • Bengali

  • Persian

  • Vietnamese

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Research Fellow

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Research Fellow Typical Career Paths

Research Fellow Education

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Real Research Fellow Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research Fellow, Economic Policy American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research Washington, DC May 24, 2016 $165,000
Research Fellow, Economic Policy American Enterprise Insitutue for Public Policy Research Washington, DC Jun 07, 2016 $140,000
Research Fellow Public Policy Institute of California San Francisco, CA Jan 01, 2016 $120,016
Research Fellow Actavis Laboratories Fl, Inc. Weston, FL Apr 19, 2016 $111,176 -
Postd Research Fellow/LEO Intermittent Lecturer University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Jan 09, 2016 $107,500
Cardiovascular Research Fellow Spectrum Health Hospitals Grand Rapids, MI Jul 01, 2015 $100,000
Research Fellow 5Blades Inc. New York, NY Aug 10, 2015 $100,000
Research Fellow Guggenheim Insurance Services, LLC New York, NY Feb 23, 2015 $99,425 -
Research Fellow National Institutes of Health, HHS Bethesda, MD Jun 14, 2015 $97,218
Research Fellow Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, Inc. Washington, DC Apr 01, 2015 $95,000
Research Fellow National Institutes of Health, HHS Bethesda, MD Dec 27, 2016 $95,000
Research Fellow The Clay Mathematics Institute, Inc. Providence, RI Feb 01, 2015 $94,494 -
Postdoctoral Research Fellow Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $54,972
Postdoctoral Research Fellow Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Nov 22, 2016 $54,886
LEO Lecturer I/Research Fellow University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Jan 09, 2016 $54,641
Postdoctoral Research Fellow Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Nov 15, 2016 $54,636
Research Fellow National Institutes of Health, HHS Bethesda, MD May 01, 2015 $54,606
Research Fellow Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Apr 01, 2015 $54,600
Postdoctoral Research Fellow Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Jan 03, 2016 $54,600
Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Jan 12, 2016 $48,216
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Baylor Research Institute Dallas, TX Jan 03, 2016 $48,214
Research Fellow Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Sep 01, 2015 $48,214
Research Fellow Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Sep 01, 2015 $48,212
Postdoctoral Research Fellow Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle, WA Jan 12, 2016 $48,205
Research Fellow Joslin Diabetes Center Boston, MA Jan 02, 2016 $48,194
Research Fellow Harvard University Boston, MA Jul 15, 2016 $48,192

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Top Skills for A Research Fellow


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Top Research Fellow Skills

  1. Cell Culture
  2. Protein Expression
  3. Laboratory
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted a full range of experiments focused on cell culture systems and developed novel adult neuron cultures from rodents.
  • Trained senior-level project scientists in basic bioinformatics and protein expression.
  • Presented writing reports monthly and delivered oral presentations to departmental seminars and laboratory meetings.
  • Investigated solutions using custom MATLAB scripts and analytically compared results to finite element analysis simulations.
  • Developed and completed independent research projects.

Top Research Fellow Employers

Research Fellow Videos

King's College London: a day in the life

A day in the life of a Pediatric Psychology Fellow

Career Advice on becoming a Research Fellow by Linda K (Full Version)