A research fellow is an academic researcher who conducts research and analysis of comprehensive literature, data, and results and provides literature reviews. He/She supervises research assistants and recruits study participants to interview them for a particular study. To become a research fellow, a candidate should have a doctorate in a relevant discipline and publish peer-reviewed papers. Also, a research fellow can be an independent investigator or be supervised by a principal investigator.

Research Fellow Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real research fellow resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Collaborate with software engineers to automate identification of 15N- and 13C- labele LC-MS features.
  • Manage and mentore postdoctoral research associates and engineers.
  • Manage laboratory duties including data storage, participant recruitment, and IRB requirements.
  • Process and manage GIS databases to contribute towards research in human transportation behavior.
  • Manage investigator initiate and cooperative group correlative studies to identify biomarkers to ascertain tumor burden and clinical outcomes in lymphoma.
  • Implement python and C++ codes for numerical computation of transport properties in models and materials.
  • Work through several medical software databases to generate SQL to pass on to Java developers for their programs.
  • Use windows and Linux platforms.
  • Analyze 3-D flight kinematics using MATLAB.
  • Used python scripting language to optimize workflow.

Research Fellow Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a research fellow does, you may be wondering, "should I become a research fellow?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, research fellows have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 8% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of research fellow opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 10,600.

On average, the research fellow annual salary is $49,120 per year, which translates to $23.62 an hour. Generally speaking, research fellows earn anywhere from $37,000 to $64,000 a year, which means that the top-earning research fellows make $27,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become a research fellow, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a postdoctoral associate, staff scientist, scientist, and postdoctoral research associate.

Research Fellow Jobs You Might Like

Research Fellow Resume Examples

Research Fellow Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 13% of Research Fellows are proficient in PHD, Research Projects, and Data Analysis.

We break down the percentage of Research Fellows that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • PHD, 13%

    Assisted PhD candidate within the Department of Political Science in research focused on negative Congressional campaign advertisements.

  • Research Projects, 7%

    Supported time-sensitive scholarly research by authoring research projects, conducting literature reviews, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing manuscripts.

  • Data Analysis, 6%

    Developed automated data analysis routines, based on anti-correlative measurement strategies to differentiate instrument systematic error from physical mirror surface attributes.

  • Molecular Biology, 6%

    Investigated senescence and neoplasm mechanisms using molecular biology to genetically modify epithelial cell lines and profile the expression of difference cells.

  • Cell Culture, 5%

    Managed laboratory cell culture operations, including training lab personnel, writing protocols, and performing necessary troubleshooting and maintenance tasks.

  • Immunology, 4%

    Coordinated interdisciplinary research between the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the College of Science and Technology.

"phd," "research projects," and "data analysis" aren't the only skills we found research fellows list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of research fellow responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Communication skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a research fellow to have. According to a research fellow resume, "communication is critical, because medical scientists must be able to explain their conclusions" research fellows are able to use communication skills in the following example we gathered from a resume: "visited the fda, pitched our devices to investors,submitted progress reports for grants, and published in nature communications. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many research fellow duties rely on observation skills. This example from a research fellow explains why: "medical scientists conduct experiments that require precise observation of samples and other health-related data." This resume example is just one of many ways research fellows are able to utilize observation skills: "collaborated with laboratory technician to ensure optimal cell storage techniques, monitor gene maturation through observation of dna patterns. "
  • See the full list of research fellow skills.

    We've found that 47.3% of research fellows have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 18.4% earned their master's degrees before becoming a research fellow. While it's true that most research fellows have a college degree, it's generally impossible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every ten research fellows did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those research fellows who do attend college, typically earn either a chemistry degree or a biology degree. Less commonly earned degrees for research fellows include a biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology degree or a psychology degree.

    When you're ready to become a research fellow, you might wonder which companies hire research fellows. According to our research through research fellow resumes, research fellows are mostly hired by Mayo Clinic, Emory Healthcare, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Now is a good time to apply as Mayo Clinic has 69 research fellows job openings, and there are 51 at Emory Healthcare and 35 at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

    If you're interested in companies where research fellows make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at JHU Applied Physics Laboratory, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and IBM. We found that at JHU Applied Physics Laboratory, the average research fellow salary is $86,582. Whereas at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, research fellows earn roughly $85,788. And at IBM, they make an average salary of $77,929.

    View more details on research fellow salaries across the United States.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious research fellows are:

      What Postdoctoral Associates Do

      A postdoctoral associate is responsible for researching to support scientific claims and theories by collecting evidence and information to answer scientific questions. Postdoctoral associates must have excellent communication skills, both oral and written, to interact with people and document investigation findings. They also utilize laboratory tools and equipment for scientific researches, conduct field investigations, and interview participants. A postdoctoral associate designs comprehensive research models to discuss results with the panel and the team efficiently and accurately.

      In this section, we compare the average research fellow annual salary with that of a postdoctoral associate. Typically, postdoctoral associates earn a $1,120 lower salary than research fellows earn annually.

      Even though research fellows and postdoctoral associates have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require phd, research projects, and data analysis in the day-to-day roles.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a research fellow responsibilities require skills like "post-doctoral," "rna," "public health," and "animal models." Meanwhile a typical postdoctoral associate has skills in areas such as "biomedical," "heart," "mit," and "high throughput." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Postdoctoral associates tend to make the most money in the education industry by averaging a salary of $50,785. In contrast, research fellows make the biggest average salary of $48,822 in the health care industry.

      Postdoctoral associates tend to reach lower levels of education than research fellows. In fact, postdoctoral associates are 11.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 28.1% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Staff Scientist?

      The primary role of a Staff Scientist is to develop and manage scientific research projects with minimal supervision. They are also responsible for the technical and budgetary aspects of scientific research projects.

      Next up, we have the staff scientist profession to look over. This career brings along a higher average salary when compared to a research fellow annual salary. In fact, staff scientists salary difference is $28,941 higher than the salary of research fellows per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Research fellows and staff scientists both include similar skills like "research projects," "data analysis," and "molecular biology" on their resumes.

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that research fellow responsibilities requires skills like "phd," "immunology," "python," and "post-doctoral." But a staff scientist might use skills, such as, "procedures," "protein," "analytical methods," and "project management."

      Staff scientists may earn a higher salary than research fellows, but staff scientists earn the most pay in the manufacturing industry with an average salary of $91,794. On the other side of things, research fellows receive higher paychecks in the health care industry where they earn an average of $48,822.

      On the topic of education, staff scientists earn similar levels of education than research fellows. In general, they're 1.9% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 28.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Research Fellows in the next 3-5 years?

      Janet Gray Ph.D.

      Professor and Department Chair, The College of New Jersey

      WGSS graduates enter every employment sector, so technological trends for our graduates will follow various sectors' directions. Among the most common careers for WGSS graduates are law, social work, and education. The capacity to work remotely and do so effectively--may depend more on having access to sound technology and good training, and devising more effective ways to use the tools available, than on any new technology becoming available.Show more

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Research Fellows in the next 3-5 years?

      April Buschelman

      Instructor, Creighton University

      I think virtual learning and working from home are here to stay. I see many more classes being offered online with a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous class sessions. Homeschooling across the country has doubled due to the pandemic, and parents would love to have the option of still having their child(ren) on track and "in" school without needing to plan every piece of the curriculum. A remote option that allows students to come into the school for portions of the day for specials or electives gives parents a great choice. This option would also enable secondary students to work during the day to support themselves or their families.

      One other technology that will become more prevalent is the virtual lessons taught through animated videos rather than an actual teacher. Similar to corporate training or the online curriculum alternatives out there, I see this as an option for schools struggling to hire teachers.
      Show more

      How a Scientist Compares

      A scientist is responsible for researching and analyzing the nature and complexities of the physical world to identify discoveries that would improve people's lives and ignite scientific knowledge for society. Scientists' duties differ in their different areas of expertise, but all of them must have a broad comprehension of scientific disciplines and methods to support their experiments and investigations. They collect the sample for their research, record findings, create research proposals, and release publications. A scientist must know how to utilize laboratory equipment to support the study and drive results efficiently and accurately.

      Let's now take a look at the scientist profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than research fellows with a $37,948 difference per year.

      By looking over several research fellows and scientists resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "research projects," "data analysis," and "molecular biology." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a research fellow is likely to be skilled in "phd," "immunology," "python," and "post-doctoral," while a typical scientist is skilled in "procedures," "analytical methods," "protein," and "gmp."

      Interestingly enough, scientists earn the most pay in the retail industry, where they command an average salary of $140,200. As mentioned previously, research fellows highest annual salary comes from the health care industry with an average salary of $48,822.

      Scientists are known to earn higher educational levels when compared to research fellows. Additionally, they're 9.7% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 20.8% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Postdoctoral Research Associate

      A postdoctoral research associate is responsible for assisting the educational institution's research department, writing research reports, analyzing research methods, and collecting information and related studies to support the research claims. Postdoctoral research associates must have excellent communication skills, both oral and written, reporting research updates to the research head, performing adjustments as needed, and gaining more expertise on the subject by brainstorming and discussing strategic procedures for the study. They may also conduct field investigation or coordinate with other institutions for additional reference, depending on the research's scope and limitation.

      The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than research fellows. On average, postdoctoral research associates earn a difference of $456 lower per year.

      While both research fellows and postdoctoral research associates complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like phd, research projects, and data analysis, the two careers also vary in other skills.

      Each job requires different skills like "immunology," "rna," "public health," and "independent research," which might show up on a research fellow resume. Whereas postdoctoral research associate might include skills like "doe," "rna-seq," "protein," and "lc-ms."

      The average resume of postdoctoral research associates showed that they earn lower levels of education to research fellows. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 11.5% less. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 29.5%.