#PHN- Scientific Research and Development

Tag: #PHN- Scientific Research and Development

Careers in Biotechnology

Adapted from northeastern.edu 

Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary field with applications in many industries. Professionals work for a variety of organizations like government agencies, private companies, regulatory bodies, or clinical laboratories. Employers in the field range in size and type from small start-ups to global pharmaceutical leaders to federal organizations such as the Department of Agriculture and National Institutes of Health. Check out some of the most in-demand biotechnology careers that are shaping our future in the list below. 

Biomedical Engineer 

2021 Median Pay: $97,410 

Projected Growth by 2030: 6% 

Biomedical engineers combine engineering and biological expertise to solve problems in biology and medicine. They design biomedical equipment, devices, and medical software, such as artificial organs, prostheses, and diagnostic machines to improve the quality of patient healthcare. Students with a undergraduate degree in the physical or biological sciences often meet the admissions criteria for a master’s degree in biomedical engineering (for example, check out the University of Minnesota Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program prerequisites here). 


2021 Median Pay: $102,270 

Projected Growth by 2030: 5% 

Biochemists study chemical properties of living things and biological processes, like cell development, cell growth, heredity, and disease. They conduct research projects and often isolate, analyze, and synthesize proteins, lipids (fats), DNA and other molecules. They also research the effects of drugs, hormones, and nutrients on tissues and biological processes to develop products and processes that may improve human health. 

Medical Scientist 

2021 Median Pay: $95,310 

Projected Growth by 2030: 17% 

Medical scientists conduct clinical research to improve patient health by investigating diseases and prevention methods. They develop and test medical devices. They prepare and analyze medical samples to investigate the causes and treatments of toxicity, pathogens, and chronic diseases. They may also help standardize drug potency, doses, and methods for the mass manufacturing and distribution of drugs and medicinal compounds. 

Biological/Clinical Technician or Medical Laboratory Scientists 

2021 Median Pay: $48,140 

Projected Growth by 2030: 7% 

Biological technicians collect samples, perform tests, and analyze results of body fluids, tissue, bacteria cultures, and other substances. These technicians use lab instruments, advanced robotics, specialized computer software, and automated equipment to collect, analyze, and model experimental data. 


2021 Median Pay: $79,260 

Projected Growth by 2030: 5% 

Microbiologists study viruses, bacteria and the immune system to produce biomedical and industrial products. These professionals conduct complex research projects and lab experiments to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious illnesses. 

Process Development Scientist 

2021 Median Pay: $94,739 

Process development scientists oversee the manufacturing process in an organization’s lab, looking for ways to increase quality and efficiency. Once a new product has been developed and approved for manufacturing, these scientists develop methods to scale production while adhering to standardized protocols. 

Biomanufacturing Specialists 

Median Pay: $80,629 

Biomanufacturing specialists use tools and methods to guarantee products meet requirements of purity, safety, potency and quality throughout the manufacturing process. It often involves the large-scale production of proteins used to treat or cure human diseases, which requires that these specialists possess a thorough knowledge of federal, state, and industry regulatory standards. 

Business Development Manager 

Median Pay: $123,065 

Business development managers give detailed market analysis to help companies formulate and execute growth and investment strategies. They help with assessing and pursuing expansion, acquisition, and collaborative research and partnering opportunities with other biotechnology institutions to achieve business growth in line with corporate goals. 

Director of Product Strategy/Commercialization 

Median Pay: $129,939 

Biotechnology professionals in these business roles handle the development and execution of the commercialization strategy for new products including launch, market development, marketing and sales, driving growth and profitability while ensuring compliance with regulatory and quality requirements. 

Career Highlight: Food Scientists

Adapted from environmentalscience.org and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Want to work to ensure the nutritional value, safety, and quality of foods in the United States and elsewhere? Want to help develop the next vegetarian burger patty or ice cream flavor to hit the market? Interested in exploring careers where you can still spend parts of your day in a lab setting? If any of this sounds intriguing, read on! 

Job Duties: 

Food scientists and technologists use chemistry, biology, and other sciences to study food. They analyze the nutritional content of food and research ways to make processed foods safe and healthy. They may also work in product development and develop better ways of preserving and processing. 

Where They Work: 

Food scientists typically work full-time and spend most of their time in laboratories and offices. However, traveling is occasionally needed to conduct site visits at food processing plants.  

Food scientists work in a variety of different industries, which may shift the focus of the job. For example, a food scientist working for a government agency may focus on using their research to advise policymakers. Those working in the private industry may be looking at whether new processed foods are safe to consume or fit with federal nutrition guidelines or may be involved in developing new products. Those working for agricultural companies like Cargill, Monsanto or Tyson may research new ways to process foods more efficiently or improve the quality of crops and livestock. 

Education and Training: 

Food scientists or food technologists will often need at least a bachelor’s degree in Food Science or another related field (e.g., Chemistry or Biology). Participating in lab work during your undergraduate is necessary as it helps you gain experience before going into the workforce. Internships are highly recommended as well because many entry-level jobs value firsthand, practical experience. In fact, many companies in the food industry will use internships as a hiring pipeline for full-time roles. 

Those who go on to earn higher degrees have a more advanced knowledge of their field, and there are some master’s programs especially designed for individuals without an undergraduate degree in Food Science (For example: The one-year Master of Food Science program at Cornell University).  

Pay and Job Outlook: 

Overall, employment is projected to grow by 9% from 2020-2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary was $73,450 in May 2020.  

Video: Summer Research 101 (2021)

Are you interested in summer research, but not sure how to successfully secure a position? Do you want to become a competitive candidate for on-campus and/or off-campus research opportunities? If you answered yes to either of these questions, this workshop is for you. Join Jacklyn Fischer (Career Center) and Prof. Deanna Donohoue as they walk you through the timeline and process of preparing a competitive application for any type of summer research.