Career Development

What Does a Research Manager Do?

Find out what a research manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a research manager.

A research manager is responsible for overseeing the work of a team of researchers. They are tasked with ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget, while also making sure that all research activities adhere to company policies and standards.

Research managers may oversee any number of different types of projects, but they’re commonly involved in developing new products or services. This might involve anything from brainstorming ideas to testing prototypes to conducting market research.

Research Manager Job Duties

A research manager typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Managing a team of researchers to help them complete their work on time
  • Working with clients to design research studies that meet their needs
  • Ensuring that research methods are ethical and legal, including obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for projects involving human subjects
  • Conducting research on the company’s behalf, including collecting data about customers’ buying habits or preferences
  • Developing and managing budgets for each project, including costs for materials and labor
  • Managing staff members to ensure that they complete tasks in a timely manner
  • Reviewing research proposals, budgets, and study designs to determine feasibility
  • Reviewing research findings to ensure that they are accurate and valid
  • Communicating results of studies to clients using written reports, presentations, or other forms of communication

Research Manager Salary & Outlook

Research managers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $162,000 ($77.88/hour)

The employment of research managers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Research managers will be needed to help companies develop new products and services and to improve existing ones. In addition, demand for research managers will continue to come from healthcare providers as they seek to improve patient care and reduce costs.

Related: Research Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Research Manager Job Requirements

A research manager typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Research managers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as biology, chemistry, psychology or another closely related discipline. Some employers prefer to hire research managers who have a master’s or doctoral degree in a related field.

Many research managers choose to earn a doctorate in a related field to increase their earning potential and qualify for senior research manager positions.

Training & Experience: Research managers typically receive on-the-job training in their role. This training may include learning about the company’s specific processes and procedures, as well as the software and technology they use. Research managers who transfer from a similar role may receive shorter training periods.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not a requirement for this role, but a research manager could obtain certifications to improve their skills and increase their earning potential.

Research Manager Skills

Research managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information through speech, writing or other methods. As a research manager, you may need to communicate with clients, colleagues and other stakeholders. Effective communication can help you convey information clearly and answer questions. You can also use communication to build relationships with others.

Leadership: Leadership skills can be useful for research managers, as they can be responsible for supervising and motivating their team. Leadership skills can help you motivate your team to work efficiently and effectively. You can also use leadership skills to delegate tasks and motivate your team to complete their work on time.

Organization: Organization is another skill that can be useful for research managers to have. This is because they often have many tasks to complete and many people to manage. Having good organizational skills can help them keep track of their responsibilities and delegate tasks to the right people.

Time management: Time management is the ability to plan and execute tasks within a set time frame. As a research manager, you may have multiple projects going on at the same time. This requires you to prioritize your tasks and manage your time accordingly. For example, you may need to check in with a team member to see how a project is progressing and then check in with another team member to see how another project is progressing.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills are also important for research managers. They may be responsible for finding solutions to challenges that arise during research projects. For example, if a research participant is injured and can’t continue with the study, the research manager may need to find a way to continue the study without the injured participant.

Research Manager Work Environment

Research managers typically work in an office environment, although they may travel to attend conferences or meetings or to visit research sites. They usually work regular business hours, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines. Research managers typically have a great deal of responsibility and must be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. They must be able to work well under pressure and be able to make quick decisions.

Research Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how research managers work. Research managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Data-Driven Decision Making

The need for more data-driven decision making is becoming increasingly important in business. This is because data can help businesses make better decisions and understand their customers better.

Research managers are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they have access to a wealth of data that can be used to make better decisions. By using data to drive decision making, research managers can help their companies become more successful.

A Greater Focus on the Customer Experience

As customer expectations continue to rise, businesses are beginning to focus more on the customer experience. This means that research managers will need to focus on understanding what customers want and how to meet their needs.

To stay ahead of the competition, research managers will need to develop skills in customer research and product development. They will also need to be able to communicate with other departments within their company in order to create a cohesive customer experience.

More Collaboration Between Research and Marketing

As marketing becomes more data-driven, research professionals are increasingly needed to help gather and analyze data.

This trend is leading to an increased demand for research managers who can work with marketing teams to design and execute research projects. In order to be successful in this field, research managers will need to be able to collaborate effectively with others and understand the importance of data-driven decision making.

How to Become a Research Manager

A research manager career can be a great way to combine your love of science with your passion for helping people. As a research manager, you’ll have the opportunity to work on projects that make a real difference in people’s lives. You’ll also get to collaborate with scientists from different disciplines and learn about new areas of research.

To become a research manager, you’ll need to have a strong background in science and math. You should also be able to think creatively and come up with solutions to complex problems. Communication skills are also important, as you’ll need to be able to explain scientific concepts to non-scientists.

Advancement Prospects

Research managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering and several years of experience in a related position. They must be able to plan, organize, and direct the work of others.

Advancement for research managers usually comes in the form of promotions to higher-level managerial positions. Some research managers may eventually become vice presidents or chief executive officers of their companies. Others may move into related fields, such as marketing or consulting.

Research Manager Job Description Example

The Research Manager will be responsible for the development and management of research studies and projects in support of [CompanyX]’s business objectives. The Research Manager will work with internal and external stakeholders to identify research needs, develop study designs, manage data collection and analysis, and prepare reports and presentations of findings. The Research Manager will also be responsible for staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices in research methods and data analysis.

The ideal candidate for this position will have a minimum of 5 years of experience in a research role, with experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The candidate should also have experience managing research projects from start to finish, including experience with project management software. Strong writing and presentation skills are a must, as the Research Manager will be responsible for communicating findings to a variety of audiences.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Design, develop, and implement research projects in collaboration with other team members
  • Define project goals and objectives, and create detailed plans for execution and delivery
  • Manage day-to-day project activities, including coordinating with internal and external stakeholders, developing timelines, and ensuring quality control
  • Conduct primary and secondary research using a variety of methods, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, and desk research
  • Analyze data to identify trends, patterns, and relationships, and present findings in a clear and concise manner
  • Write reports and proposals to communicate research findings to clients and other stakeholders
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments, and share insights with the team
  • Develop and maintain relationships with clients, vendors, and other research professionals
  • Train and mentor junior research staff, and provide guidance and support as needed
  • Manage budgets and invoicing for assigned projects
  • Adhere to ethical standards and applicable laws and regulations when conducting research
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in research, science, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in a research role, with 3+ years in a management position
  • Proven ability to design and execute research studies
  • Excellent analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in research, science, or related field
  • 7+ years experience in a research role, with 5+ years in a management position
  • Experience leading a team of researchers
  • Familiarity with statistical software programs, including SPSS and SAS
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Excel


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