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Research Scientist

Position TitleResearch Scientist
Alternate Title(s)Government Scientist, Researcher, Research and Development (R&D) Scientist
Education & Training LevelBachelors required, prefer graduate degree
Education & Training Level DescriptionResearch scientists need a bachelor’s degree in a closely related field for most positions. Usually, a master’s degree or a Ph.D is preferred.
Brief job description Research scientists work with government, academic institutions, manufacturers and other sectors of the wind industry to plan, manage and conduct research projects and develop scientific approaches and solutions to industry challenges. 
Preferred Level of EducationMaster’s degree or Ph.D.
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 scientists work with government, academic institutions, manufacturers and other sectors of the wind industry to plan, manage and conduct research projects and develop scientific approaches and solutions that address industry challenges. Projects often aim on developing technologies and systems that can produce the most electricity at the lowest cost while withstanding loads imparted by the atmosphere. Projects can include any aspect or component of the wind turbine, wind plant, or analysis of environmental or community acceptance.

When working to address industry challenges, a research scientist may:

  • Conduct scientific research
  • Plan and carryout experiments
  • Collect, record, and analyze data and results
  • Publish and disseminate findings by publishing reports, presenting at  conferences, and advising decision-makers
  • Develop new products, methods or systems for applying research findings.

Other tasks the research scientist may be required to perform are:

  • Write research proposals and apply for funding
  • Review proposals
  • Collaborate with domestic and international groups on standardization
  • Plan, coordinate and communicate work effort within organization
  • Support or lead a team of engineers, scientists, and technicians
  • Network and learn about recent findings in related fields.

Research scientists in the wind industry could come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds including environmental scientists, geologists, wildlife biologists, atmospheric scientists, mathematicians, data scientists, social scientists, physics, computer science and materials scientists.

Job Skills
  • Problem solving and analysis skills. Research scientists need to be able to develop and analyze the results of models.
  • Math skills. Research scientists use calculus, statistics, and other advanced topics in mathematics to develop models used in their research.
  • Communication and writing skills. Research scientists must be able to communicate their progress and findings both orally and in written form to their team, managers, customers and in public forums. They also must document process, keep records, describe findings, and make recommendations in published reports and presentations.
  • Teamwork skills. Most scientific problems are complex and often best solved in teams.
  • Planning skills. Research scientists may have to secure their own funding or funding for their team, including government or foundation grant writing. They need to plan projects, including budgeting.
Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics:

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