What Does a Research Manager Do?

Find out what a Research Manager does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Research Manager.

research manager

The Research Manager plays an integral role in steering the direction of projects and initiatives through the meticulous gathering and analysis of data. This position involves overseeing a team dedicated to conducting comprehensive market, social, or scientific research, depending on the organization’s focus. By synthesizing information from various sources, the Research Manager ensures that decision-makers are equipped with actionable insights, enabling informed strategy development and implementation. This role requires a balance of leadership, analytical prowess, and the ability to communicate complex findings in a digestible manner, ensuring that research outcomes effectively support the organization’s objectives and contribute to its success.

Research Manager Job Duties

  • Oversee the planning, implementation, and tracking of specific short-term and long-term research projects to ensure milestones and objectives are met.
  • Develop and manage the research team’s budget, ensuring resources are allocated effectively and financial compliance is maintained.
  • Recruit, hire, and train research staff and assistants, providing mentorship and professional development opportunities to foster a skilled and motivated team.
  • Establish and enforce rigorous data collection, analysis, and storage protocols to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of research data.
  • Facilitate collaboration with external stakeholders, including industry partners, academic institutions, and funding bodies, to secure project support and enhance research outcomes.
  • Review and approve research findings for publication, ensuring that reports, papers, and presentations accurately reflect the data and adhere to ethical standards.
  • Implement risk management strategies for research activities, identifying potential legal, ethical, or financial risks and developing mitigation plans.
  • Advocate for the research department within the organization, securing buy-in from senior management for research initiatives and demonstrating the value of research outcomes to the organization’s strategic goals.

Research Manager Salary & Outlook

A Research Manager’s salary is influenced by factors including industry sector (e.g., biotech, market research), company size, years of experience, and the complexity of projects managed. Specialization in high-demand research areas and the ability to secure funding or grants can also significantly impact earnings.

  • Median Annual Salary: $99,750 ($47.96/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.

This growth is driven by the increasing complexity of scientific and technological research, the expansion of industries reliant on data analysis and innovation, and the growing need for companies to stay competitive through research and development, necessitating skilled Research Managers to oversee and streamline these processes.

Research Manager Job Requirements

Education: A Research Manager typically holds a higher education degree, with many possessing Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degrees in fields such as Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, or specific scientific disciplines relevant to their research area. Coursework often includes statistics, research methodology, project management, and subject-specific classes to develop a strong foundation in both the theoretical and practical aspects of conducting and managing research projects. Advanced degrees may be preferred for complex research domains.

Experience: Research Managers typically emerge from backgrounds rich in hands-on research experience, often having progressed through roles that demand increasing responsibility in project management, data analysis, and team leadership. Their journey is marked by a blend of on-the-job training and formal training programs aimed at honing skills in research methodologies, statistical tools, and sector-specific knowledge. Successful candidates usually possess a track record of managing research projects, mentoring junior researchers, and contributing to scholarly publications or industry reports, showcasing their ability to lead complex research initiatives from conception through to completion.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications and licenses are not typically required for the position of Research Manager.

Research Manager Skills

Data Collection Methodology: Selecting suitable techniques for information gathering, whether through surveys, interviews, or data mining, is crucial for Research Managers to ensure data accuracy and relevance. Designing and implementing efficient systems for organizing and analyzing this data is also part of this skill set, enabling informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Statistical Analysis: Dissecting complex data sets to extract actionable insights is a core responsibility. Applying various statistical tools and methodologies, while identifying trends, anomalies, and patterns, can lead to significant discoveries or improvements in research methodologies.

Research Design: Developing a blueprint for investigations that meet scientific rigor and strategic objectives is critical. Proper planning and execution of each study’s methodology, data collection, and analysis techniques ensure the integration of theoretical frameworks with practical applications, generating valuable insights and advancing knowledge.

Grant Writing: Writing compelling proposals that clearly communicate the significance and objectives of research projects is crucial for securing funding and resources. Understanding both the scientific content and strategic elements that appeal to funding bodies ensures that research initiatives are innovative and financially supported.

Peer Review Process: Coordinating the evaluation of manuscripts or project proposals through expert feedback ensures the integrity and quality of research outputs. Selecting appropriate reviewers, facilitating constructive dialogue, and synthesizing insights guide revisions or project advancements, maintaining scholarly excellence and innovation.

Ethical Compliance: Adhering to ethical standards and regulations is essential, as it protects the integrity of research projects and maintains public trust. Applying ethical guidelines meticulously across all research stages, from proposal to publication, prevents misconduct and promotes transparency.

Research Manager Work Environment

A Research Manager typically operates within a dynamic environment that balances office-based tasks with fieldwork. The workspace is often equipped with advanced technological tools to facilitate data analysis, project management, and communication with team members. This role may involve a hybrid work model, offering flexibility in work hours to accommodate research deadlines and meetings across different time zones.

The dress code tends to be business casual, reflecting a professional yet comfortable atmosphere. The culture within the team emphasizes collaboration, continuous learning, and innovation, fostering a supportive and intellectually stimulating social environment. Health and safety protocols are rigorously followed, especially when the work involves laboratory or field research.

Interaction with a diverse range of stakeholders is a constant, requiring strong communication skills. Opportunities for professional development are abundant, with access to the latest research, conferences, and workshops. The pace of work can be fast, driven by project timelines and funding cycles, necessitating effective time management and prioritization skills.

Advancement Prospects

A Research Manager can ascend to senior management roles, such as Director of Research or Chief Scientific Officer, by demonstrating exceptional leadership and strategic planning in research projects. Advancement often requires a track record of successful project completions, publications in prestigious journals, and contributions to the field that have tangible impacts.

To achieve these positions, a Research Manager should focus on developing a niche expertise, leading innovative research initiatives, and securing significant funding. Mastery in managing multidisciplinary teams and collaborations with industry partners can also pave the way for progression.

Progressing further might involve transitioning into executive roles where one oversees multiple research departments or even entire research institutions. This requires a deep understanding of the business aspects of research, including budgeting, resource allocation, and regulatory compliance.

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Research Manager Job Description

Research manager duties & responsibilities.

To write an effective research manager job description, begin by listing detailed duties, responsibilities and expectations. We have included research manager job description templates that you can modify and use.

Sample responsibilities for this position include:

Research Manager Qualifications

Qualifications for a job description may include education, certification, and experience.

Licensing or Certifications for Research Manager

List any licenses or certifications required by the position: MBA, ACRP, IRB, OSP, SAS, CITI, CRS, CPR, RHIT, RHIA

Education for Research Manager

Typically a job would require a certain level of education.

Employers hiring for the research manager job most commonly would prefer for their future employee to have a relevant degree such as Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Economics, Education, Management, Marketing, Business, Leadership, Directing, Statistics, Science, Social Sciences

Skills for Research Manager

Desired skills for research manager include:

Desired experience for research manager includes:

Research Manager Examples

  • Microsoft Word (.docx) .DOCX
  • PDF Document (.pdf) .PDF
  • Image File (.png) .PNG
  • Analysis of data from syndicated studies
  • Track and analyze data from both online and social media outlets
  • Extract (with Analyst) and analyze the distribution of IFC in all Nielsen markets that will allow affiliate sales to increase revenue
  • Analyses of IFC viewership/channel dayparts based on data beyond traditional resources
  • Manages and guides Marketing Research Analysts and Representatives
  • Create relevant data points and shape competitive story using syndicated research tools
  • Lead analysis across the breadth of social metrics (sentiment, volume, ) using complex math/ statistical models to help unpack these metrics, driving understanding and use
  • Work with internal/external stakeholders to understand business needs, process requirements and business problems and provide guidance on how to think/understand social metric movements
  • Assist in project design for program and brand testing, other projects as needed
  • Contributes to study design and coordinates implementation options with program partners
  • Production research subject matter expertise, including a good understanding of advanced metrics and their usage in storytelling
  • Experience working with a research full-screen builder and ENPS
  • Experience working with article search databases and software applications that extract and analyze data from primary sources and statistical applications
  • Has a proven ability and expertise in insight generation that extends over 5 years in market research (preferably with agency experience) with deep expertise in quantitative research
  • An good understanding and experience of the Business-to-Business
  • Ability to take a research project through all phases of the research life cycle from identifying objectives and developing approach to data/information collection such as surveys and in-depth interviews, to analysis and final presentation of results
  • Can build strong relationships and work with Research team colleagues to support join up research outputs where required
  • Able to work in a time pressured environment
  • Able to drive projects on their own confidently
  • Has experience of working in research
  • Conceptualize research designs to address key business questions by implementing qualitative and quantitative research approaches to drive actionable insights and client implications
  • Oversee the logistics and coordination of research, providing direction throughout the life cycle of a project (programming/scripting, data collection/fieldwork, data processing)
  • Leverage story-telling skills (integrating multiple data sources including qual/quant results, secondary data sources, trend information and data analytics) to prepare highly polished presentations that deliver insightful, strategic, and actionable insights
  • Identify and articulate residential real estate trends and market conditions
  • Create reports that clearly communicate the state of the market and the competitive environment for company properties
  • Communicate findings to colleagues, senior management, clients, and financial institutions
  • Must have passion/interest in television content and distribution strategy
  • Must possess strong strategic thinking and analytical skills
  • Must be able to clearly articulate complex content to diverse stakeholders
  • Detailed knowledge of TV and digital data measurements systems TechEdge, Omniture and Comscore
  • Fluent in Nielsen NPOWER
  • MA/MS Degree in education, psychology, or statistics with specialization in Adolescent Literacy or Early Childhood research with a Ph.D
  • Submit documents to research support committees
  • Review and query data in database in collaboration with the Coordinating and Data Management Center (CDMC)
  • Manager data analysis for presentations and publications as directed by P.I
  • Schedule and prepare for meetings as necessary
  • Order and send supplies to the satellite sites for data and bio-sample collection
  • Update and maintain INSPPIRE webpage, Wiki page (study resource for INSPPIRE PIs and study coordinators)
  • Obtain and monitor access to Wiki page
  • Oversee the arrangement of travel for the Primary Investigator (PI) to annual meetings and coordinate with other site PIs
  • 2+ years’ of marketing research, research design or project management experience
  • Proven ability to use logical reasoning and excellent communication skills (verbal and written) to solve problems and execute design of projects
  • Experience managing a small team in a complex environment
  • An interest in the sharing economy and an understanding of cities and public policy
  • Maintaining enthusiasm and a calm demeanor in stressful situations
  • Experience with survey creation, administration, and analysis
  • Experience with broad marketing data (CRM, digital, social, direct response, brand, PR)
  • Must have advanced computers skills and a high level of proficiency in Nielsen and other audience research software (Star, Nielsen nPower, Rentrak, Google Analytics)
  • Supports STP process
  • Encourages technology scouting and project creation
  • Resolve conflicts between scientists/engineers & customers, in order to reach optimal transfer of results to BUs
  • Assists Local Department Manager in people management, including competence development and budgeting
  • Recruit best in class researchers, provide mentoring and make plans for their professional growth
  • Coordinates, leads and writes proposals for 3rd party funding opportunities
  • Build and maintain an up-to-date market intelligence database by systematically gathering, analyzing and compiling all business structure and performance data
  • Must be able to make programmatic recommendations to the appropriate research staff/volunteer committees
  • An integral function of the position will be the production of case-for-support materials, research productivity documents, Field summary documents
  • Lead, design and manage OR related studies commissioned by the UK affiliate liaising with the clinical operations team on the most appropriate outcomes
  • Understanding of biochemistry or protein separation
  • Bachelor Degree or Master Degree from top university
  • 5 - 8 years experience in market research or related function in either agency side or client side
  • Excellent English and Mandarin skills both in written and oral
  • Have sound knowledge of overall market research technology and be able to apply to marketing / business practice and strategy
  • Be able to think logically and insightfully
  • Maintain Day to Day account relationships with clients, and external data partners
  • Manage all phases of the research process from study kick off to presentation and follow-up
  • Co‐ordinate trials of new features and ongoing developments to evolve portfolio of products by contributing feature suggestions, improvements and ideas
  • Solve customer reported issues in a timely manner, by working closely with team members from other departments
  • Consult with and offer support to faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students in developing their research proposals
  • Analyze data, create reports/tables, review trends, and make program improvement recommendations
  • Responsible for all data, research activity, and relationships with the assigned markets/regions
  • Understanding of market drivers and activity to ensure the continuous improvement of data, relationship, revenue, and retention
  • Interprets results and develops materials (reports, articles, ) to summarize findings and communicate the value of Skyfactor projects to support marketing and client services efforts
  • Analyze the training needs of project teams and identify relevant training material/ courses to address these needs
  • With exposure in qualitative and quantitative research, and has interest to handle and grow skills
  • Knowledge in MS office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
  • Able to manage assigned tasks independently
  • Able to perform/execute project implementation requirements
  • Able to conduct intermediate qualitative or quantitative analyses that aid in the identification of client solutions with senior/project manager supervision
  • Able to craft portions of project presentations to clients with senior supervision

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  • 07 July 2021

Research managers are essential to a healthy research culture

You have full access to this article via your institution.

Attendees talk and observe posters during the INORMS 2018 Poster Exhibition

A poster session at an international conference for research managers in Edinburgh in 2018. More academic administrators are getting involved with the scholarly side of their subject. Credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography

In the space of three decades, academic research management has become an attractive career prospect for researchers around the world. Once focused principally on helping academics to manage funding, research managers and administrators (RMAs) are now part of a globally recognized profession that spans the research spectrum. There are some 20,000 RMAs working in universities; most are in high-income countries, but expansion is under way in lower-income nations, particularly in Africa.

The role has evolved as research has become more complex, and this, in turn, is attracting more candidates with research-level qualifications and experience. Today’s managers and administrators need knowledge and experience of open science, equality and diversity, ethics and public engagement — as well as of more conventional areas such as accounting, project management and research policy.

RMA courses and qualifications are now offered by universities and by some of the 20 national and regional professional associations belonging to the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS).

research manager

‘We’re problem solvers’: research administrators offer guidance to working scientists

But, as we report in this issue , tensions between RMAs and the researchers they work with are not uncommon. There are still those who regard the academic as ‘king’ and the RMA as little more than research support. Meanwhile, at some institutions, university leaders expect RMAs to monitor academics’ performance metrics — such as targets for publishing and research income — which can be stressful for both researchers and managers .

As a result, RMAs and their professional organizations are becoming advocates for responsible research. And they are embracing the academic study of research management and administration. This is helping to establish good practice, as well as professional standards that can be used to hold universities and publishers to account.

For example, members of INORMS are taking a lead in addressing how university league tables might be improved to make them fairer and more transparent . And the UK research managers association, ARMA, has been involved in an independent review on the use of metrics in research evaluation, a project called the Metric Tide. This year also saw the launch by management professionals of the Journal of Research Management and Administration .

These are welcome developments. RMAs are crucial to the research enterprise. Moreover, their involvement in active scholarship is essential to achieving the aims set out above. Researchers and managers must work collegially and respectfully to make the research environment happier and more productive.

Nature 595 , 150 (2021)


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