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Research Engineer

Position TitleResearch Engineer 
Alternate Title(s)Government Engineer, Research and Development Engineer, Basic Research Engineer, Component Researcher, Materials Engineer
Education & Training LevelBachelor’s degree required, prefer graduate degree
Education & Training Level DescriptionResearch engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers value practical experience, e.g., cooperative engineering programs, prior work experience, or internships.
Brief job description Research engineers work with government, academic institutions, manufacturers and other sectors of the wind industry to plan, manage and conduct projects to develop and assess new wind turbine technologies and processes that produce the most electricity at the lowest cost. Researchers in component manufacturing study cutting edge technologies and invent new processes or components helpful in wind power technology.
Preferred Level of EducationMaster’s degree 
Preferred Level of ExperienceSee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Estimated/Expected SalarySee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Job Profile

Research engineers work with government, academic institutions, manufacturers and others to plan, manage and conduct projects to develop and assess new wind turbine technologies and processes that produce the most electricity at the lowest cost while withstanding atmospheric loads.
To achieve this goal, research engineers:

  • Design, develop and assess wind turbine components
  • Test wind turbine technology (e.g., blade flexibility and strength, weather tests, gear box reliability)
  • Analyze  wind power systems (e.g., explore arrays and atmospheric science, mesoscale modeling)
  • Explore ways to improve technology and understanding of wind power systems
  • Perform cutting edge research
  • Publish and disseminate findings by presenting at conferences, meetings, publishing reports, and advising decision-makers.

Research engineers may also be responsible for:

  • Preparing cost estimates and analyzing cost parameters
  • Building prototypes, products, and systems for testing
  • Design testing procedures and coordinate to identify problems and solutions
  • Collaborating on standards for procedures and component requirements
  • Coordinating and communicating work efforts
  • Supporting or leading teams of engineers, scientists, and technicians.

Engineers use computers extensively to produce and analyze designs, generate specifications for parts, monitor product quality, and simulate and test how a turbine or component operates. Because of the complexity of wind turbines, research engineers may come from a wide variety of engineering disciplines such as aerospace, civil, computer science, electrical, environmental, health and safety, industrial, materials, or mechanical engineering.

Job Skills
  • Research skills. These include literature reviews, basic research, and interviewing experts. Research engineers delve into new fields and come up with innovative solutions.
  • Analytical skills. Research engineers must be experts in solving complex engineering problems.
  • Math skills. Algebra and calculus are necessary.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Communication and Writing Skills. Research engineers must be able to communicate their progress and findings both orally and in written form to their team, managers, and the client as well as be able to document, describe findings, and make recommendations in published reports.
  • Teamwork skills. Most projects are complex, and issues are often best solved in teams.
Resources

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