Biotechnology researchers have specialized jobs assisting in researchers in often narrowly specialized projects, such as mapping DNA, studying pharmaceuticals, or finding medical or other uses for plants and animals. They amass data, analyze it, and write reports from it. They may also assist in writing and publishing research findings. Biotechnology research is usually able to be scheduled to take place during a normal 40-hour work week. Occasionally, studies such as those involving cell cultures may require after hours or weekend work to provide cultures with new growth media, and there may be other reasons for weekend or after hours work, but in general, the hours for a biotech researcher are fairly regular.
Biotech researchers earn salaries that range from $48,000 to over $100,000. Most primary biotechnology researchers hold at least a master's degree, with doctoral degrees being preferred by research sponsors. Assistants and those in technician jobs may hold a four year degree in a related field of study, or a master's degree.
Technician jobs in the biotech sector range from those who are responsible for cleaning and distributing laboratory glassware and autoclaving instruments to those who assist in carrying out the practical aspects of experiments that are performed. These jobs may include aspects of analytical chemistry, cell culture technology, or the use of radioactive tracers for tracing biological substances.
Lab assistants perform research tasks and experiments. They record observations, analyze data, and interpret findings. They may be in charge of the upkeep and supplying of laboratory equipment and non-reusable supplies. The job can involve writing reports and drawing up experiment protocols. He or she may help calibrate or repair instruments. Many of the people in these positions come to the biotech environment from medical jobs.
Research associates also sometimes come to the biotech sector from medical jobs. They are responsible for aspects of research and development and collaborate with researchers on experiments. They write technical reports, experiment protocols, and data analyses and keep up with current scientific literature. Contributing to papers sent to peer reviewed scientific journals may also be part of the job of a research associate.
One of the more common technician jobs is that of media prep technician. Many of these people come to their work from a background in medical jobs. Other technician jobs can be categorized as "greenhouse assistants." These research assistants work in botany research, a field that has applications in everything from medicine to green energy production. In addition to fulfilling educational requirements, a greenhouse assistant may have a background working in a plant nursery or other plant work.
Biotechnology research may be paid for by private foundations, by government grants, or by pharmaceutical or other biotech corporations. For many biotech researchers in university settings, chasing funding is a never ending task. Technicians may be called upon to help write, proofread, or edit research proposals. This process may go on to a greater or lesser extent year round. Biotechnology research is an ever-changing and ever-evolving process. Those who take technician jobs in the biotech sector should be ready for his or her job to evolve as experiments progress.
Some biotechnology jobs are considered medical jobs even though the setting of the work may be far from a hospital or clinical setting. They may be involved in the development of new drugs or in the genetic mapping of people with certain diseases. Medical breakthroughs begin far from the hospital or doctor's office, in the laboratory where biotech researchers can observe changes on a cellular or even smaller level. As technology continues its rapid evolution, biotech will continue to capitalize on new techniques and new ideas. Today is a great time to be a biotechnology researcher.