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Become A Staff Research Scientist

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Working As A Staff Research Scientist

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

  • $79,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff Research Scientist 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 Staff Research 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.

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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Staff Research Scientist Career Paths

Staff Research Scientist
Research Associate Consultant Product Manager
Director Of Product Development
11 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Chemist
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager
Research And Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
9 Yearsyrs
Research Fellow Adjunct Instructor Nurse Manager
Director Of Clinical Operations
12 Yearsyrs
Research Fellow Chemist Quality Control Manager
Quality Control Director
9 Yearsyrs
Research Fellow Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager
Senior Manager Of Research And Development
12 Yearsyrs
Doctoral Fellow Scientist Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Manager Of Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Doctoral Fellow Scientist
Senior Development Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Doctoral Fellow Project Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Research And Development
13 Yearsyrs
Scientist Laboratory Manager
Clinical Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Scientist Senior Software Engineer Senior Technical Consultant
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Scientist Staff Scientist Senior Research Associate
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Scientist Research And Development Manager Vice President Of Research And Development
Chief Scientific Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Postdoctoral Research Associate Chemist Environmental Scientist
Senior Scientist, Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Postdoctoral Research Associate Application Scientist
Senior Applications Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Postdoctoral Research Associate Project Manager Engagement Manager
Head Of Business Development
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Scientist 4.9 years
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Staff Scientist 3.5 years
Scientist 3.4 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Junior Scientist 2.3 years
Top Careers Before Staff Research Scientist
Scientist 5.6%
Engineer 2.8%
Instructor 2.3%
Top Careers After Staff Research Scientist
Consultant 9.4%
Scientist 6.3%
Director 3.1%
Manager 3.1%
Analyst 2.3%

Do you work as a Staff Research Scientist?

Average Yearly Salary
$79,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$50,000
Min 10%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$125,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
eBay
Highest Paying City
Palo Alto, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
4.6 years
How much does a Staff Research Scientist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Staff Research Scientist in the United States is $79,320 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $50,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $125,000.

Real Staff Research Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Research Scientist-Structural Geology/Nume Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Oct 02, 2010 $164,000
Staff Research Scientist Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 28, 2016 $160,000
Staff Research Scientist Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA Dec 10, 2015 $155,000
Staff Research Scientist Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA Oct 12, 2015 $155,000
Staff Research Scientist Chevron Corporation San Ramon, CA Sep 21, 2010 $145,000
Staff Research Scientist Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA Sep 17, 2016 $139,672 -
$173,100
Staff Research Scientist Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 30, 2016 $139,672 -
$168,000
Staff Research Scientist Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 19, 2016 $135,000
Staff Research Scientist Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 20, 2015 $134,133
Staff Research Scientist Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. Pasadena, CA Aug 26, 2015 $130,000
Senior Staff Research Scientist Kateeva, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Sep 14, 2011 $125,000
Staff Research Scientist Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Sep 12, 2013 $118,300
Team Lead-Staff Research Scientist Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 30, 2016 $114,358 -
$168,000
Staff Research Scientist Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 29, 2015 $105,000 -
$168,000
Staff Research Scientist Lintec of America, Inc. Richardson, TX Nov 18, 2016 $100,000 -
$110,000
Staff Research Scientist Lintec of America, Inc. Richardson, TX Jan 05, 2015 $100,000
Staff Scientist Chocolate Research The Hershey Company Hershey, PA Jan 09, 2016 $100,000
Staff Research Scientist/Engineer United Technologies Research Center, A Division of East Hartford, CT Jan 15, 2015 $99,611 -
$122,920
Staff Research Scientist II Johnson Controls, Inc. Milwaukee, WI Oct 01, 2013 $95,368 -
$125,900
Staff Research Scientist Medrad, Inc. PA Sep 14, 2012 $89,000
Research Staff Scientis/Physicist Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) Oak Ridge, TN Oct 16, 2013 $88,899
Staff Research Scientist I The J. David Gladstone Institutes San Francisco, CA Jan 11, 2016 $87,130 -
$104,880
Staff Research Scientist I The J. David Gladstone Institutes San Francisco, CA Apr 03, 2016 $86,630 -
$154,180
Staff Research Scientist United Technologies Research Center, A Division of East Hartford, CT Aug 04, 2011 $85,717 -
$102,792
Staff Research Scientist United Technologies Research Center East Hartford, CT Aug 16, 2010 $85,405 -
$102,000
Staff Research Scientist I The J. David Gladstone Institutes San Francisco, CA Nov 21, 2016 $85,000 -
$92,690
Research Staff Scientist/Physicist Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) Oak Ridge, TN Oct 18, 2010 $84,000

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Top Skills for A Staff Research Scientist

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Environmental Analytical Methods
  3. PCR
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Co-developed novel PCR method for directed molecular evolution resulting in a patent application.
  • Applied molecular biology techniques to contribute to the improvement of fermentation-based monomer production.
  • Applied advanced DNA manipulation and protein purification techniques to develop novel therapeutic and diagnostic drug products.
  • Developed, validated, implemented and transferred analytical methods for therapeutic peptides using HPLC and wet chemistry techniques.
  • Analyzed data and provided technical support for clinical chemistry products.

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Top 10 Best States for Staff Research Scientists

  1. New Jersey
  2. California
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Connecticut
  5. Delaware
  6. Maryland
  7. North Carolina
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Virginia
  • (585 jobs)
  • (3,100 jobs)
  • (664 jobs)
  • (182 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)
  • (445 jobs)
  • (635 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (1,516 jobs)
  • (511 jobs)

Staff Research Scientist Demographics

Gender

Male

49.7%

Female

27.9%

Unknown

22.4%
Ethnicity

White

42.8%

Asian

33.0%

Hispanic or Latino

12.6%

Black or African American

7.7%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

French

30.8%

Chinese

7.7%

German

7.7%

Japanese

7.7%

Norwegian

7.7%

Carrier

7.7%

Tagalog

7.7%

Russian

7.7%

Polish

7.7%

Korean

7.7%
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Staff Research Scientist Education

Schools

University of California - Irvine

9.2%

University of Delaware

9.2%

Ohio State University

7.7%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

6.2%

Pennsylvania State University

6.2%

University of Houston

6.2%

Cornell University

6.2%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.6%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.6%

Johns Hopkins University

4.6%

University of California - Berkeley

4.6%

University of Texas at Austin

4.6%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

4.6%

University of Nevada - Reno

3.1%

University of the Sciences

3.1%

Arizona State University

3.1%

University of California - San Diego

3.1%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.1%

University of California - San Francisco

3.1%

University of California - Merced

3.1%
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Majors

Chemistry

20.6%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

14.4%

Electrical Engineering

8.1%

Business

7.5%

Biology

6.3%

Chemical Engineering

5.0%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

4.4%

Computer Science

3.8%

Physics

3.8%

Medicine

3.1%

Environmental Science

3.1%

Physiology And Anatomy

2.5%

Mechanical Engineering

2.5%

Biomedical Engineering

2.5%

Materials Sciences

2.5%

Pharmacology

2.5%

Microbiology

1.9%

Natural Resources Management

1.9%

Geology

1.9%

Engineering

1.9%
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Degrees

Doctorate

53.7%

Masters

21.7%

Bachelors

11.8%

Other

10.3%

Certificate

2.0%

Associate

0.5%
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