Research and development (R&D) managers are responsible for supervising staff members and overseeing the development of research projects. R&D managers may be found working on medical, scientific, economic and sociologic projects, or in any number of fields where extensive research is necessary. Most R&D manager’s possess a Ph.D., and almost all managers hold at least a bachelor’s degree. To become an R&D manager, it is generally advisable to gain as much independent research experience in one’s chosen field as possible.
Those seeking to become an R&D manager should first focus on completing undergraduate studies. An undergraduate degree in one’s area of interest or a closely related subject is generally advisable. It is also a good idea to try and begin working on research projects during undergraduate schooling.
Students may often find professors in their department of major who share similar research interests. It is very beneficial to begin establishing contact with instructors who have research experience in their field. Professors will often hire undergraduate students to work on research projects, giving the student work experience and a competitive edge during graduate applications. If the professor is not conducting a current research project, some may allow for students to conduct independent studies in which they act as a supervisor for the student.
Beginning to acquire research experience as early as possible will be beneficial to those seeking to become an R&D manager. It is important for students to obtain a strong foundation in research ethics and practices in order to successfully run projects of their own in the future. Some may go on to work on research projects directly after undergraduate school and eventually work their way up to the position of R&D manager. To remain competitive in the work place and maintain a certain level of autonomy in research, it is advisable that those seeking to become an R&D manager complete a Ph.D. program.
The majority of time in graduate school will probably be spent conducting research for one’s advisers and for one’s dissertation project. Candidates seeking to gain admission into a graduate program likely will be evaluated on a number of factors, including their level of research experience and evidence produced by their research. Once one has completed a Ph.D. in their chosen field, they may move on to conduct independent research projects in which they assume the role of R&D manager. They also may work collaboratively on existing projects and eventually become an R&D manager.