Natural sciences managers oversee everything from the manufacture of shampoo, to the design of bigger, better wind turbines, to discoveries that will be written into textbooks. Whether they supervise a team of physicists, chemists, or biologists, natural sciences managers typically have the same objective: develop projects that contribute to society through science. These managers conduct planning for corporate research and development teams. They maintain contact with upper management, sharing project proposals, research findings, and status updates. While about one in four natural science managers work in government, many others work in businesses that depend on research grants. “Working managers” participate directly in scientific research, and tend to have smaller teams. Otherwise, natural science managers are expected to tend to administrative duties, like budgeting, and hiring and managing technicians and staff. Throughout a research project, they check on their staff’s methodologies to make sure lab results are accurate, and consult on technical issues. Most work full time; sometimes more than 40 hours per week. Managers often work in offices, while scientists and working managers work in labs. Almost all have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a scientific field and several years’ work experience as a scientist. Some may obtain additional training in engineering, management, or public administration.
What they do:
Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development in these fields.
On the job, you would:
Confer with scientists, engineers, regulators, or others to plan or review projects or to provide technical assistance.
Develop client relationships and communicate with clients to explain proposals, present research findings, establish specifications, or discuss project status.
Plan or direct research, development, or production activities.
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Safety and Government
law and government
writing things for co-workers or customers
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
communicate by speaking
communicate by writing
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
The MathWorks MATLAB
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
IBM Lotus 1-2-3
bachelor's degree or doctoral degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.