What does a research scientist do and how do I become one?

As a scientist, you’ll formulate and carry out experiments to assist increase the scope of scientific knowledge. With boundless opportunities for new discoveries and breakthroughs over a range of rapidly-growing industries and sectors, being a research scientist is among the most exhilarating careers in STEM.

What does a research scientist do, exactly?

Being a research scientist entails conducting lab-based experiments and trials to prove certain hypotheses and theorems.

Research work is usually split between pure study, which increases our understanding of essential processes, and applied research, which applies the gathered information to achieve targets like fabricating commercial applications, processes, or products.

Your targets will be contingent on the specialisation of your employer. Research studies span a range of different sectors, including medicine, chemistry, biology, environmental science, computer science, and even political science. If you need science-based services, Fleet Bioprocessing can offer the services you need.


  • Standard daily responsibilities of research scientists comprise:
  • Coming up with research suggestions
  • Organising and doing experiments
  • Obtaining samples
  • Overseeing experiments
  • Analysing and recording data
  • Working together with other scientists and academia to come up with new products and techniques
  • Managing junior personnel
  • Conducting fieldwork and examining environmental factors
  • Conducting research and publishing research papers
  • Remaining updated with the latest scientific advancements
  • Work environment

When you’re a research scientist, you can expect to spend most of the time in a lab. These settings can differ depending on your specialisation. For instance, bio labs are created to safely house and keep living specimens, while psychology laboratories may comprise a network of computers.

Apart from lab work, there are facets of your job (including publishing research papers and results) that will be carried out in an office setting. You may also be needed to go to offices or labs of other companies or research institutions, particularly if you’re working on the same thing.

Working hours

As a researcher, you can expect to be on the clock between 35 to 40 hours per week on a 9-to-5 p.m. schedule. Occasionally, you may be called upon to do overtime or visit the lab during the weekends to finish some tasks.

What types of skills are required to be a research scientist?

Even though researchers have different personality types, you’ll ought to have an academic mentality and be naturally curious. Some of the skills you should master include:

The least requirement is a 2:1 bachelor’s degree or over in a pertinent field of science. The majority of scientists have achieved postgraduate certification like an MSc, MBiol or MSci. Qualifications include:

  • Microbiology
  • Natural science
  • Pharmacology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental science
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical science

Even though a PhD isn’t needed, some employers go for people that have a doctorate or are working towards it. Evidence of your experience working in a lab setting greatly improves your chances of getting employed.

If you’ve attained a viable degree or are studying to get one, you can add to your portfolio by acquiring research experience in a laboratory. The easiest way of gaining this experience is requesting your university department, who may have positions available you can volunteer. You can also send out your resume/CV to STEM companies and hospitals to get that essential lab experience.

How much do research scientists earn?

Like most fields in science, salaries will be contingent on your experience level, your specialisation, the company, and, to a smaller extent, the location. It’s important to note that the private sector pays considerably higher compared to academia or the public sector.

In the United Kingdom, researchers’ salaries start from £20,000 at the entry-level to more than £70,000 for senior university researchers. The basic salary for a researcher is £32,330 with assistants earning £26,000 to £35,000.