Research Scientist How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

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 Company is hiring a Research Associate for a world-class biotech/pharmaceutical client in (City, State).

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.


  • 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).

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

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?

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