What does a Research Engineer do?


Research Engineers work in a wide range of industries – from mechanical to chemical engineering, and medical fields. So what do they do exactly? Let’s find out!

The Role of a Research Engineer

Research Engineer - The role

Research engineering covers a broad range of industries and sectors:

  • Product engineering
  • Biochemical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering

Research engineers assist in the development or design of new products and technology. They improve existing technical processes, machines and systems and create new, innovative technologies.

Research in engineering is all about the implementation of research results and new knowledge from engineering.

Not only are technical systems, processes or devices researched and developed, but also entire manufacturing processes in industries such as robots or vehicles.

In engineering too, research is divided into basic and applied research, with the majority of engineers being used in applied research.

What are the responsibilities of a Research Engineer

Research Engineer Responsibilities

Research engineers mainly work theoretically and analytically. Their tasks are very diverse: for example, they carry out studies, experiments, and analysis on technical systems or components.

Furthermore, they research, collect relevant data and evaluate it. Simulations, cost calculations, and feasibility studies are also added to the work in applied research. In order to present their findings, they create presentations and lectures or publish scientific literature.

When it comes to day to day tasks, a research engineer’s duties depend on the area of engineering in which they function, as well as the industry in which the research engineer works.

In chemical engineering, for example, you analyze and investigate substances and reactions that are relevant to the development of new products. In AI or robotics, on the other hand, you research cognitive systems or develop new control technologies.

Research naturally takes place in all branches and application areas of engineering. It plays a particularly important role in the following areas and makes up a large percentage of potential employers:

  • Chemistry and process engineering
  • Materials science
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Energy technology and environmental technology
  • Robotics and automation technology
  • Biotechnology
  • Aerospace technology
  • Medical technology

What are the responsibilities of a research engineer?

  • Perform cutting edge research
  • Publish and announce findings by presenting at conferences or meetings
  • Preparing budget reports and estimates
  • Building prototypes, and systems while adhering to cost structures
  • Design testing procedures and coordinate to identify problems and solutions
  • Collaborating on standards for procedures and component requirements
  • Coordinating and communicating work efforts to other departments and teams
  • Supporting or leading teams of engineers, scientists, and technicians.

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Research Engineer Skills

Research Engineer Skills

To become a research engineer, you’ll need to be passionate about learning new things. Research engineers are generally curious and think out of the box. They enjoy unconventional thinking – to brainstorm non-stop, develop new ideas and not be discouraged by setbacks. Above all, the ability to think ahead pays off.

Often, you are not only responsible for your calculations in the office, but also coordinate employees and colleagues and their tasks. That’s why the ability to work in a team is also very important.

Above all, computer science skills are increasingly required when it comes to the virtual simulation of machines or processes. CAE methods are therefore an absolute must in many companies. Not only do you use the existing functions of the software, but you may also program your own features to meet your own requirements. Additionally, good documentation skills are essential when it comes to presenting your findings.

What does a Research Engineer need to know?

  • Research skills such as literature review, basic and deep research
  • Professional competency and above average academic performance
  • Analytical skills to deal with complex engineering problems and solve them
  • Extensive knowledge of mathematics and good IT skills
  • Great communication and writing skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Interdisciplinary and creative thinking

Research Engineer Background

Research engineers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering field. Professionally, companies may prefer engineers with adept experience and skills within a given field. This could mean acquiring an appropriate Master’s degree or further learning experiences.

How much does a Research Engineer make?

Salaries for research engineers vary vastly by the type of engineering industry they work in. In general however, the salary of a Junior research engineer is just about $20,000 per year. With a few years of experience and increased skills, engineers can hope to earn about $89,000 on average. A Senior research engineer may earn up to $206,000.

How much does a research engineer earn?


How much do Freelance Research Engineers charge?

Average Freelancer Rate for Research Engineers

On average, freelance Research Engineers charge $91/hr. When taken at an 8-hour day, this amounts to $721 per day. (Freelancermap Index January 2020)

Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

By Natalia Campana

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