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Become A Senior Research Fellow

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Working As A Senior Research Fellow

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

  • $73,274

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Research Fellow Do

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.

Duties

Medical scientists typically do the following:

  • Design and conduct studies that investigate both human diseases and methods to prevent and treat them
  • Prepare and analyze medical samples and data to investigate causes and treatment of toxicity, pathogens, or chronic diseases
  • Standardize drug potency, doses, and methods to allow for the mass manufacturing and distribution of drugs and medicinal compounds
  • Create and test medical devices
  • Develop programs that improve health outcomes, in partnership with health departments, industry personnel, and physicians
  • Write research grant proposals and apply for funding from government agencies and private funding sources
  • Follow procedures to avoid contamination and maintain safety

Many medical scientists form hypotheses and develop experiments, with little supervision. They often lead teams of technicians, and sometimes students, who perform support tasks. For example, a medical scientist working in a university laboratory may have undergraduate assistants take measurements and make observations for the scientist’s research.

Medical scientists study the causes of diseases and other health problems. For example, a medical scientist who does cancer research might put together a combination of drugs that could slow the cancer’s progress. A clinical trial may be done to test the drugs. A medical scientist may work with licensed physicians to test the new combination on patients who are willing to participate in the study.

In a clinical trial, patients agree to help determine if a particular drug, a combination of drugs, or some other medical intervention works. Without knowing which group they are in, patients in a drug-related clinical trial receive either the trial drug or a placebo—a pill or injection that looks like the trial drug but does not actually contain the drug.

Medical scientists analyze the data from all the patients in the clinical trial, to see how the trial drug performed. They compare the results with those obtained from the control group that took the placebo, and they analyze the attributes of the participants. After they complete their analysis, medical scientists may write about and publish their findings.

Medical scientists do research both to develop new treatments and to try to prevent health problems. For example, they may study the link between smoking and lung cancer or between diet and diabetes.

Medical scientists who work in private industry usually have to research the topics that benefit their company the most, rather than investigate their own interests. Although they may not have the pressure of writing grant proposals to get money for their research, they may have to explain their research plans to nonscientist managers or executives.

Medical scientists usually specialize in an area of research. The following are examples of types of medical scientists:

Cancer researchers research the causes of cancers, as well as ways to prevent and cure cancers. They may specialize in one or more types of cancer.

Clinical and medical informaticians develop new ways to use large datasets. They look for explanations of health outcomes through the statistical analysis of data.

Clinical pharmacologists research, develop, and test current and new drugs. They investigate the full effects that drugs have on human health. Their interests may range from understanding specific molecules to the effects that drugs have on large populations.

Gerontologists study the changes that people go through as they get older. Medical scientists who specialize in this field seek to understand the biology of aging and investigate ways to improve the quality of our later years. 

Immunochemists investigate the reactions and effects that various chemicals and drugs have on the human immune system.

Neuroscientists study the brain and nervous system.

Research histologists have a specific skill set that is used to study human tissue. They investigate how tissue grows, heals, and dies, and may investigate grafting techniques that can help people who have experienced serious injury.  

Serologists research fluids found in the human body, such as blood and saliva. Applied serologists often work in forensic science. For more information on forensic science, see the profile on forensic science technicians.

Toxicologists research the harmful effects of drugs, household chemicals, and other potentially poisonous substances. They seek to ensure the safety of drugs, radiation, and other treatments by investigating safe dosage limits.

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How To Become A Senior 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.

Education

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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Senior Research Fellow jobs

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Senior Research Fellow Career Paths

Senior Research Fellow
Post Doctoral Researcher Senior Scientist Program Manager
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Technician Specialist Licensed Practical Nurse Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Instructor Specialist Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Associate Professor Research Scientist Senior Manager
Director Of Analytics
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Technician Specialist PRN Medical Technologist
Laboratory Director
10 Yearsyrs
Instructor Lecturer Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Clinical Supervisor Utilization Review Nurse
Medical Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Scientist Senior Scientist
Principal Scientist
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Scientist Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Principal Scientist Project Manager Construction Manager
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Postdoctoral Associate Scientist Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Principal Scientist Associate Director
Research Director
7 Yearsyrs
Associate Professor Professor Research Associate
Research Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Post Doctoral Researcher Research Associate
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Scientist Research Scientist
Senior Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Postdoctoral Associate Research Associate Senior Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Instructional Designer Program Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Engineering Manager Vice President Of Engineering
Vice President Of Research And Development
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Scientist 4.9 years
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Research Biologist 3.7 years
Staff Scientist 3.4 years
Research Manager 3.2 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Research Fellow 2.3 years
Research Leader 2.1 years
Research Affiliate 1.9 years
Research Professor 1.9 years
Fellow 1.7 years
Research Assistant 1.7 years
Research Scholar 1.4 years
Research Trainee 0.9 years
Research Volunteer 0.9 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 9.0%
Fellow 8.0%
Researcher 6.5%
Scientist 3.6%
Consultant 3.3%
Volunteer 2.5%
Lecturer 2.4%
Instructor 1.8%
Top Employers After
Fellow 8.4%
Scientist 6.6%
Consultant 5.8%
Internship 3.8%
Director 2.9%
Instructor 2.5%
Volunteer 2.4%

Senior Research Fellow Demographics

Gender

Male

52.4%

Female

39.4%

Unknown

8.2%
Ethnicity

White

61.1%

Asian

27.5%

Hispanic or Latino

6.9%

Unknown

3.5%

Black or African American

1.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

28.7%

French

18.1%

Chinese

7.4%

Russian

6.0%

German

6.0%

Mandarin

4.6%

Japanese

3.7%

Hindi

3.2%

Korean

2.8%

Italian

2.8%

Portuguese

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%

Polish

1.9%

Dutch

1.4%

Ukrainian

1.4%

Tamil

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Greek

1.4%

Czech

1.4%

Bulgarian

0.9%
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Senior Research Fellow Education

Schools

University of Washington

10.1%

George Washington University

6.1%

Johns Hopkins University

6.1%

University of California - Berkeley

5.3%

Michigan State University

5.3%

University of Texas at Austin

5.3%

University of Chicago

5.3%

New York University

4.9%

Brigham Young University

4.9%

Harvard University

4.9%

Columbia University

4.9%

Bates College

4.5%

George Mason University

4.5%

Case Western Reserve University

4.5%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.0%

University of Cincinnati

4.0%

University of Pennsylvania

4.0%

Ohio State University

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

University of Florida

3.6%
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Majors

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

14.4%

Chemistry

14.0%

Biology

9.6%

Microbiology

6.9%

Biotechnology

5.1%

Physics

5.0%

Psychology

4.8%

Business

4.7%

Pharmacy

3.4%

Computer Science

3.3%

Political Science

3.3%

Environmental Science

3.2%

Mechanical Engineering

3.2%

Electrical Engineering

2.9%

Economics

2.9%

Chemical Engineering

2.8%

Public Health

2.7%

Geology

2.7%

Law

2.7%

Physiology And Anatomy

2.6%
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Degrees

Doctorate

37.2%

Masters

26.0%

Bachelors

23.1%

Other

10.4%

Certificate

1.6%

Associate

0.9%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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Internship
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Real Senior Research Fellow Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Research Fellow Harvard University Cambridge, MA Feb 15, 2016 $250,000 -
$350,000
Senior Fellow SCHRÖDinger, Inc. New York, NY Dec 22, 2015 $212,000
Tusiad Senior Fellow The Brookings Institution Washington, DC Jan 01, 2016 $150,000 -
$180,000
Senior Fellow The Brookings Institution Washington, DC May 13, 2016 $150,000 -
$180,000
Senior Fellow The Brookings Institution Washington, DC May 08, 2016 $150,000 -
$180,000
Senior Fellow Center for Cultural and Technical Interchange BETW Urban Honolulu, HI Jan 01, 2015 $145,443
Senior Economics Fellow The Institute for New Economic Thinking, Inc. New York, NY Feb 15, 2015 $140,000 -
$160,000
Senior Fellow Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Inc. Washington, DC Jul 01, 2015 $132,500
Senior Researcher I Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Princeton, NJ Aug 23, 2016 $126,600 -
$162,300
Senior Fellow Purpose Campaigns LLC New York, NY Apr 29, 2015 $125,554
Senior Research Fellow International Budget Partnership Washington, DC Jan 12, 2016 $120,000 -
$135,000
Senior Fellow Foundation for Defense of Democracies Washington, DC Nov 29, 2016 $120,000
Senior Research Fellow Capsugel Inc. Bend, OR Sep 30, 2016 $115,903
Senior Research Anlayst Bunge Global Markets, Inc. White Plains, NY Sep 23, 2016 $115,000
Senior Researcher USG Corporation Libertyville, IL Oct 01, 2015 $76,544 -
$93,060
Senior Researcher American Institutes for Research Washington, DC Mar 14, 2016 $76,149 -
$105,284
Senior Researcher The Center for Systems Integration Denver, CO Jun 13, 2016 $75,000 -
$82,500
Senior Fellow Hudson Institute, Inc. Washington, DC Oct 01, 2015 $74,173
Senior Researcher USG Corporation Libertyville, IL Aug 04, 2015 $74,000 -
$84,000
Senior Researcher University of Houston System Houston, TX Feb 02, 2016 $73,561
Researcher Senior Healthcore, Inc. Wilmington, DE Nov 29, 2016 $73,416 -
$110,124
Senior Fellow University of Washington Seattle, WA Apr 01, 2015 $56,316
Researcher, Senior Healthcore, Inc. Wilmington, DE Aug 29, 2016 $56,035 -
$100,000
Senior Fellow University of Washington Seattle, WA Mar 16, 2015 $55,800
Researcher, Senior Healthcore, Inc. Andover, MA Jan 06, 2016 $55,432 -
$100,640
Researcher, SR. Healthcore, Inc. Andover, MA Dec 06, 2016 $55,432 -
$118,060

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Top Skills for A Senior Research Fellow

TechnicalReportsLaboratoryLabCellCultureResearchProjectsMethodsProteinPolicyMolecularBiologySynthesisChemistryDNARt-PcrDataAnalysisRHplcAdvisorDataCollectionElisaRNA

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Top Senior Research Fellow Skills

  1. Technical Reports
  2. Laboratory
  3. Lab
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared technical reports from observations and results recorded in the laboratory.
  • Maintained, calibrated and aligned laboratory equipment.
  • Facilitated scientific exchange between collaborating laboratories via outside lab meetings, departmental seminars, and clinical grand rounds.
  • Performed complete experiments while gaining techniques in basic lab practices, cell cultures and maintaining cell lines
  • Developed funding requests and secured $30,000 funding for research projects.

Top Senior Research Fellow Employers

Senior Research Fellow Videos

Thomas Sowell - Gender Bias and Income Disparity: A Myth?

Dr Tania Lewis, Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow | RMIT University

RMIT Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Fellows | RMIT University

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