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What Does a Project Scientist Do?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann

A project scientist is a person who oversees all phases of a scientific project from beginning to end. He is responsible for obtaining materials, determining testing techniques and managing staff members. Being successful in this career usually requires a person with an analytical mind and excellent leadership skills. In general, an individual must have a master's degree or higher in a specific scientific field to obtain a position. Typical job duties of a project scientist include performing preliminary research, developing a project outline, acquiring staff members, supervising staff members and documenting results.

Performing preliminary research is usually the first thing a project scientist will do before getting a project under way. For example, if he is working for a pharmaceutical company, he might create a project to determine the side effects of a particular medication. This phase of a project might involve researching similar tests previously completed and reading scientific journals.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

After he has performed an adequate amount of research, a project scientist will typically develop a project outline; this could involve determining which materials are necessary, how many staff members are needed, the length of a project and a variety of other factors. Once he has an understanding of a project's outline, he will take the necessary steps to get everything set up, and will acquire as many staff members as necessary. For this process, he will usually interview and screen applicants to ensure expertise in the particular scientific area of the project at hand, hiring staff members who are the best fit and provide any necessary training.

A project scientist will also supervise staff members throughout the course of a project. Since he is considered the expert and lead scientist, it's his responsibility to keep other scientists on task and ensure that all deadlines are met. For large scale projects, he may spend the bulk of his time overseeing others; otherwise, he may do much of the work himself for smaller projects. This aspect of the job requires a person to have time management abilities and leadership skills.

In addition, a project scientist is in charge of documenting the results after the completion of a project. To perform this task effectively, he will need to record the exact steps taken to reach the results and explain exactly what they mean. Afterward, a project scientist may publish his findings in a scientific journal to share with other professionals.

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