Undergraduates working in the private sector usually assist a scientist in the day-to-day conduct of their work carrying out experiments, learning how to properly document experimental results, and participate in writing reports about the findings and in oral presentations to their group.
Assistant Scientist or Research Associate
Assistant Scientist or Research Associate is the title often associated with entry-level positions at the bachelor’s level. These individuals work under the supervision of senior scientists to carry out experiments, collect and analyze data, and present research findings to their team leader and/or in more formal settings to other groups.
Senior Scientist or Principal Scientist
Scientists with a M.S. and some work experience or with a Ph.D. are usually referred to as Senior Scientists or Principal Scientists. Senior Scientists are usually responsible for the design, implementation, and execution of research projects and the preparation and delivery of oral conference presentations and peer-reviewed technical papers. They typically supervise one or more scientists and/or lab technicians who carry out the actual research work.
Many companies reward/recognize their most accomplished, productive scientists and engineers formally through membership in a select society and with a title such as “Research Fellow.” These individuals are usually found in the Discovery or Research & Development units and are involved in cutting-edge research projects of vital interest to the company.