Research managers lead the execution of research projects. They draft research proposals, select research methods, supervise the research team, manage budgets and present research findings. Common employers of research managers are market research firms, scientific research companies, government agencies and colleges and universities.
Doing the Job
The specific duties of research managers vary from job to job. At market research firms, for example, the research manager holds meetings with clients to discuss project objectives and agree on the budget. In universities, these managers usually initiate research projects. They identify potential research ideas and pitch them to directors of research and innovation, or submit research proposals for approval. Regardless of the work environment, all research managers have a duty to select appropriate research methodologies and techniques for assigned projects, acquire research supplies and equipment from vendors, put together an effective research team, and ensure completion of the project on time and on budget.
Becoming a Research Manager
Research managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in an occupation-specific field as well as vast research experience. Aspiring market research managers, for example, typically need a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a similar business field, as well as many years of market analysis experience. Scientific research managers need a degree in a scientific discipline such as biology or chemistry, and several years of scientific research experience. Ambitious managers can pursue graduate certificates in research administration or master’s degrees in business management to gain more skills and knowledge and improve their chances of being promoted to the position of research director.
2016 Salary Information for Natural Sciences Managers
Natural sciences managers earned a median annual salary of $119,850 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, natural sciences managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $92,070, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $160,990, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 56,700 people were employed in the U.S. as natural sciences managers.