Research Scientist Job Descriptions, Salary, and Interview Questions (2023)

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Research scientists use fundamental concepts, practices, and procedures of a particular field of specialization to plan and perform routine scientific research tasks that require the application of established techniques, procedures, and criteria. They analyze results and publish their findings in scientific journals. Research scientists work in a wide variety of fields, such as medical research, natural sciences, and computer science. Research scientists are employed by government agencies, universities, and private businesses. They might work as part of a team or conduct research on their own.

Sample job description #1

The Scientific Team at ABC Companyis hiring aResearch Associatefor a world-class biotech/pharmaceutical client in (City, State).

(Video) RESEARCH ANALYST Interview Questions & Answers!

This organization is constantly involved in groundbreaking science, and you could be a part of that! The Research Scientist is part of a unique Microchemistry, Proteomics, and Lipidomics team.


  • Will work closely with team members to identify different types of lipids from biological tissue samples
  • Perform lipid extraction from biological samples
  • Develop and optimize LC-MS/MS methods for lipids analysis
  • Maintain and troubleshoot LC-MS/MS
  • Document experiments and studies
  • Facilitate clinical sample preparation
  • Perform other duties as assigned


  • PhD in Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, or equivalent areas
  • Proficient in the use of basic lab hardware such as balances, syringes, and pipettes
  • Experience in biological sample preparation and purification; lipids analysis experience from biological samples is preferred
  • Familiarity with LC-MS/MS

Additional details

  • 1 year project
  • W2 position
  • Must be eligible to work in the United States. Unable to provide visa sponsorship now or in the future

Sample job description #2


This position will actively support environmental testing in the forest product industry. Primary focus of this role will be analytical testing using organic and inorganic methods as well as to participate in the development of new methods when necessary The samples being monitored are crucial to protecting the environment and monitoring indicators within the environment. Work is performed as part of a team in a collaborative environment.

(Video) Top 20 Research Analyst Interview Questions and Answers for 2022


  • Participate in the organization and conduct of research projects involving analytical components, and develop quantitative analytical methods as required to address project analytical needs.
  • Implement established quantitative analytical methods and assays using GC-FID, GC-ECD, GC-PFPD, GC-NPD, GC/MS, HPLC-UV, IC, and LC/MS/MS, both directly and by mentoring support staff.
  • Operate, maintain, and troubleshoot multiple GC, GC/MS, LC/MS/MS, and other instrument systems directly and by instructing and mentoring support staff in these functions
  • Provide analytical advice, analytical method reviews and auditing of contract laboratory data for member companies and forest products industry-affiliated organizations
  • Prepare laboratory reports for project leaders and member companies as well as other written communications that meet the highest standards of quality
  • Present scientifically sound technical information and research findings at NCASI conferences, webcasts, and other technical meetings
  • Maintain comprehensive laboratory notebooks, a neat and orderly laboratory workplace, and adhere to laboratory quality plans, QA/QC measures, and SOPs
  • Work safely and contribute to updating and improving laboratory safety practices
  • Supervise support laboratory staff, ensuring maintenance of laboratory equipment, and generation and reporting of high-quality analytical results


  • Master’s degree in analytical chemistry or closely associated scientific discipline or five plus years of professional experience executing analytical chemistry techniques applied to environmental matrices
  • PhD in analytical chemistry, preferred
  • Familiarity with forest products industry environmental topics related to pulping and papermaking process operations, preferred
  • Hands on experience in environmental test methods such as clean water act methods, clean air act methods, SW 846, and other environmental methods
  • Strong verbal and written communication, and data analysis skills
  • Strong computer skills with knowledge in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint
  • Experience with or ability to learn industry-specific software, such as ChemStation and laboratory information management systems in a timely manner.
  • Follow safety procedures and work at the benchtop in office
  • Must be able to traverse stairs, effectively manipulate analytical glassware and instrumentation, and stand for long periods while working at benchtops or in the field. May be required to lift and carry equipment up to 30 pounds

Sample job description #3

Position description

ABC Company is seeking a Research Scientist to review patent applications received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). ABC Company supports the USPTO, which is a federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. The work performed by Research Scientists supports this contract with the USPTO as well as related commercial patent search and analysis services.

The USPTO registers trademarks and under this system of protection, American industry has flourished. New products have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered, and employment opportunities created for millions of Americans. Successful candidates are able to make significant contributions to the patent industry, while working in the growing economy and will travel (on occasion) to beautiful surroundings of (City, State).

(Video) Top 20 Research Assistant Interview Questions and Answers for 2022

In this research scientist role, you will:

  • Review and analyze Patent Applications based on the US and International patent classification structures, and determine a likely patent classification and a series of sub classifications
  • Provide technical expertise in one or more of the following technologies: medical and surgical procedures, medical/surgical instruments and supplies, diagnostic equipment, treatment devices; and exercising
  • Be expected to determine appropriate classifications in accordance with both U.S. and international patent classification systems through technical knowledge, research, and automated tools
  • Learn patent classification, search, and examination processes
  • Apply knowledge of classification processes to assign U.S. Patent Classification (USPC) and Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) codes to complex technical subject matter
  • Use automated systems to perform research and classification operations
  • Function in a production-based environment with emphasis on operating efficiently and accurately at a significant pace
  • Work independently with minimal supervision
  • Work closely with others in a team environment
  • Participate in on-going program training to expand knowledge in additional technical fields and patent services

To be successful in this research scientist role, you will have:

  • A Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Biology and Biochemistry, or related discipline or equivalent mix of education and experience
  • 0-2 years experience
  • Understanding of technical concepts and/or Medical Terminology
  • 25% travel may be required
  • Exceptional analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Strong reading comprehension skills
  • Strong written communication skills
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Word and Excel
  • The ability to work on a computer workstation 8 hours per day
  • Must be able to obtain and/or maintain a Public Trust Security Clearance

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a research scientist is $94,000 United States. Salary will vary based on level of experience, education, and geographical location. Additionally, certain specialties and niche expertise may command significantly higher compensation.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$94,500$126,500
Los Angeles, California$105,450$142,700
Denver, Colorado$88,000$118,900
Washington, DC$107,050$144,850
Miami, Florida$87,500$118,350
Orlando, Florida$80,700$109,200
Tampa, Florida$81,500$110,250
Atlanta, Georgia$85,500$115,650
Chicago, Illinois$98,300$132,950
Boston, Massachusetts$106,250$143,750
Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota$84,700$114,600
New York City, New York$111,850$151,350
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$91,050$123,250
Dallas, Texas$88,700$120,000
Houston, Texas$88,300$119,450
Seattle, Washington$102,250$138,350
National Average$79,900$126,500
(Video) What is a Research Associate? (Interview with Momo Hayakawa)

Sample interview questions

  • What is the role of a research scientist?
  • How would you secure research funding?
  • What are the techniques to combat the heavily extractive nature of research?
  • How would you mitigate the influence of undetectable extraneous variables?
  • How would you promote the availability of your findings?
  • What would you do if you found a consequential error in your publication?
  • What is the X concept and how does it work?
  • Why are you a good scientist?
  • What do you do if a research project isn’t working?
  • What experience do you have collecting and analyzing biological data?
  • What is your approach to working with a large amount of information or data?
  • Can you describe a time when you successfully used scientific rules or methods to solve a problem at work?
  • Can you give an example of a time when your ethics were tested?
  • What do you consider to be your best-published work and why? What did it change about the way people approach the field?
  • Can you describe a time when you collaborated with other laboratories on a project?
  • What is innovative about your research?
  • What has been your role so far in developing research ideas and carrying them forward?
  • What are the big issues in your research area?
(Video) Top 20 Research Scientist Interview Questions and Answers for 2022


What is the job description of a research scientist? ›

Research scientists are responsible for designing, undertaking and analysing information from controlled laboratory-based investigations, experiments and trials. You could work for government laboratories, environmental organisations, specialist research organisations or universities.

How much does a research scientist get? ›

Salary Ranges for Research Scientists

The salaries of Research Scientists in the US range from $34,000 to $630,000 , with a median salary of $73,168 . The middle 60% of Research Scientists makes between $60,195 and $73,141, with the top 80% making $630,000.

What skills do you need to be a research scientist? ›

Research scientists must have strong verbal communication skills to articulate their observations to other scientists and technicians in a laboratory. They must also have strong writing skills to successfully write grant proposals to pursue funding for their research or write summaries and reports with their findings.

What are the 5 scientific skills? ›


The ability to make good observations is also essential to the development of the other science process skills: communicating, classifying, measuring, inferring, and predicting.

What is the difference between a scientist and a research scientist? ›

Applied scientists are said to be at the same caliber as research scientists, but they are also experts in applying their knowledge and implementing solutions at scale. Thus, while a research scientist is more focused on scientific discovery, an applied scientist is more interested in real-life applications.

What are 10 most common interview questions and answers? ›

10 most common interview questions and answers
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What attracted you to our company?
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about a time where you encountered a business challenge?

How do I prepare for an R&D interview? ›

5 Difficult R&D Job Interview Questions
  1. What could you bring to other companies? One of the companies who interviewed me asked me this question and I thought it was clever. ...
  2. Why are you a good scientist? ...
  3. Are you an ethical scientist? ...
  4. How do you handle pressure? ...
  5. What if things don't work?
12 Dec 2016

What is the highest paid research scientist? ›

7 Highest Paying Science Jobs
  • #1 Physicist. Median Salary: $129,850. Education: Doctorate. ...
  • #2 Computer Research Scientist. Median Salary: $126,830. ...
  • #3 Political Scientist. Median Salary: $125,350. ...
  • #4 Astronomer. Median Salary: $119,730. ...
  • #5 Biochemist or Biophysicist. Median Salary: $94,270. ...
  • #6 Geoscientist. Median Salary: $93,580.

Do you need a PHD to be a research scientist? ›

Research scientists need a bachelor's degree in a closely related field for most positions. Usually, a master's degree or a Ph. D is preferred.

What is the highest salary of a scientist? ›

Scientist salary in India ranges between ₹ 3.2 Lakhs to ₹ 18.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 6.6 Lakhs. Salary estimates are based on 2.9k salaries received from Scientists.

What are 3 main skills that scientists use? ›

Science skills for learning
  • Observing – This is the most fundamental of science skills. ...
  • Classifying – This skill builds upon observation. ...
  • Quantifying – One of the most valuable skills needed for science study is the ability to measure accurately.

What are the 6 skills of a scientist? ›

Observing, classifying, communicating, measuring, inferring and predicting are among the thinking skills used by scientists, teachers and students when doing science.

What is the most important skill for a researcher? ›

In addition, there are a handful of key skills which are crucial to success.
  • Project Management. Every research project requires a degree of project management. ...
  • Handling Budgets. Another key skill is learning how to effectively manage a budget. ...
  • Team Leading/Managing. ...
  • Handling Data. ...
  • IT skills.

What are the 9 attributes of scientist? ›

What makes a good scientist?
  • Curious. Scientists are curious about their world. ...
  • Patient. Scientists are patient as they repeat experiments multiple times to verify results.
  • Courageous. ...
  • Detail-oriented. ...
  • Creative. ...
  • Persistent. ...
  • Communicative. ...
  • Open-minded and free of bias.
1 Feb 2017

What are the 7 basic process skills in science? ›

Science process skills include observing qualities, measuring quantities, sorting/classifying, inferring, predicting, experimenting, and communicating.

What are the 7 characteristics of scientific knowledge? ›

The major characteristics of scientific knowledge includes the following: Empirical, Objective, Accuracy, Systematic, Ethical consideration, Reliable, Predictable, Replicable, Controlled and have a definite objective.

Can we call researchers as scientists? ›

A scientist is also a researcher as he tests hypothesis and verifies observations and facts. A researcher is a generic term for a person who may study a subject for a better understanding of facts, and he may be a scientist or a scholar in his field.

Is a PhD student a research scientist? ›

In fact, it's not until Research Scientist IV that a PhD is a minimum qualification, and even then, "Bachelor's degree candidates with exceptional qualifications may be considered." A PhD is required to be a Senior Research Scientist, however.

Who qualifies as a scientist? ›

A scientist is someone who systematically gathers and uses research and evidence, to make hypotheses and test them, to gain and share understanding and knowledge. A scientist can be further defined by: how they go about this, for instance by use of statistics (statisticians) or data (data scientists).

What are the 5 hardest interview questions? ›

The most difficult interview questions (and answers)
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What's something that you didn't like about your last job?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • How do you deal with conflict with a co-worker?
  • Here's an answer for you.

What are the 8 hardest interview questions and answers? ›

The 10 hardest interview questions (and how to answer them)
  • Tell us about yourself. ...
  • What are your weaknesses? ...
  • Why do you want to change jobs? ...
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? ...
  • How Would Your Colleagues Describe You? ...
  • What did you like most/least about your last job? ...
  • Tell Me About a Mistake You've Made.
16 Jun 2021

What are the 5 unusual interview questions? ›

Examples of Weird Interview Questions
  • How many basketballs can fit on a bus?
  • What two things, aside from food and water, would you want on a deserted island?
  • How many pizzas are ordered every night in the United States?
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?
  • Blue or green?
29 May 2021

What are 10 good interview questions? ›

Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers
  • Tell Me About Yourself. ...
  • Why Are You the Best Person for the Job? ...
  • Why Do You Want This Job? ...
  • How Has Your Experience Prepared You for This Role? ...
  • Why Are You Leaving (or Have Left) Your Job? ...
  • What Is Your Greatest Strength? ...
  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
17 Feb 2022

Why should we hire you answer best? ›

Show that you have skills and experience to do the job and deliver great results. You never know what other candidates offer to the company. But you know you: emphasize your key skills, strengths, talents, work experience, and professional achievements that are fundamental to getting great things done on this position.

What are the five criteria identifying R&D? ›

For an activity to be an R&D activity, it must satisfy five core criteria. The activity must be: novel, creative, uncertain, systematic, transferable and/or reproducible.

What are the strengths of R&D? ›

7 key advantages of R&D for small business
  • Unique selling point. R&D can help you to develop unique products and services. ...
  • Income. Unique products and services resulting from successful R&D projects can bring financial benefits to the business. ...
  • Funding. ...
  • Tax relief. ...
  • Competitive edge. ...
  • Collaboration. ...
  • Reputation.

What are the steps in R&D? ›

The research method uses Research and Development (R&D) has 7 stages: (1) the potential and problem analysis stage, (2) the data collection stage, (3) the product design stage, (4) the product validation stage, (5) the product revision stage, (6) product trial phase, (7) data analysis and reporting stages.

What type of job is a research scientist? ›

Research scientists plan, lead and carry out experiments and investigations in a wide range of industries.

Is a research scientist a good job? ›

Yes, being a research scientist is a good career.

D. average $99,460 a year. However, it can start from $65,000 to $206,379 a year, depending on the industry and location of the position. Overall, research scientist positions are projected to grow 5% over the next ten years.

How many hours do research scientists work? ›

Working hours

Research scientists typically work 35 to 40 hours a week on a 9-to-5, full-time basis. On occasion, you may be required to work overtime or visit the laboratory on weekends to complete certain tasks. That said, most organisations offer flexible working arrangements.

What is the title for a research scientist? ›

The following titles are used for research scientist appointments: Research Scientist. Senior Research Scientist. Principal Research Scientist.

Is research scientist a stressful job? ›

Scientific research may not have made Health Magazine's top-10 list of the most stressful jobs (see box), but most scientists experience considerable stress--especially early in their careers when an unsuccessful proposal or insufficient research productivity can bring a career to a premature end.

What is the highest paid research scientist? ›

7 Highest Paying Science Jobs
  • #1 Physicist. Median Salary: $129,850. Education: Doctorate. ...
  • #2 Computer Research Scientist. Median Salary: $126,830. ...
  • #3 Political Scientist. Median Salary: $125,350. ...
  • #4 Astronomer. Median Salary: $119,730. ...
  • #5 Biochemist or Biophysicist. Median Salary: $94,270. ...
  • #6 Geoscientist. Median Salary: $93,580.

Do research scientists need a PhD? ›

Research scientists need a bachelor's degree in a closely related field for most positions. Usually, a master's degree or a Ph. D is preferred.


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