what is a research associate?

A research associate is a professional who works in the field of research. In this role, you are responsible for conducting research, analysing data, and interpreting your research findings. You may work independently or as part of a team and will typically be employed by universities, research institutions, or private companies.

Research associates may have different titles depending on the organisation you work for and the specifics of your role, such as research assistant, research coordinator, or research scientist. You may also specialise in a particular field, such as biomedical research, social sciences, or engineering.

If this sounds like a career that appeals to your curious nature and analytical mind, read on to find out more about this profession, including the skills you need to thrive.

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average salary of a research associate

According to Payscale, the average salary of a research associate is around ₹394,111 per year. This salary comes with experience, however. Research associates in entry-level positions earn upwards of ₹176,000, while research assistants who are later in their careers can earn as much as ₹20,00,000.

factors that affect research associate’s pay

The salary of a research associate may vary depending on several factors, such as education, experience, location, and the industry you work within. If you have higher degrees, such as a PhD, you may earn a higher salary than if you have a bachelor's or master's degree. Similarly, research associates with more experience in the field they work in will often earn a higher salary than those who are just starting their careers.

Smiling woman looking away from computer screens displaying financial information
Smiling woman looking away from computer screens displaying financial information

types of research associate

There are several types of research associates, each with specific job responsibilities and requirements. Here are some of the most common types of research associates:

  • clinical research associate (CRA): a CRA is responsible for monitoring clinical trials to ensure that they meet the ethical and regulatory standards set by the government. You work for pharmaceutical companies, clinical research organisations, or academic institutions.
  • biomedical research associate: as a biomedical research associate, you work in the field of biomedical research, which involves studying the biology and diseases of living organisms. In this profession, you typically work in academic institutions, hospitals, or private companies.
  • social science research associate: in this role, you conduct research in various fields, such as sociology, psychology, or anthropology. You will typically work in academic institutions, government agencies, or research organisations.
  • environmental research associate: environmental research associates conduct research related to the environment and natural resources. In this role, you likely work in government agencies, environmental organisations, or research institutions.

working as a research associate

As a research associate, you are responsible for managing and conducting research projects, as well as collaborating with different stakeholders. Let us delve into the specific job responsibilities and expectations of this role.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for research associates include:

  • bachelor's degree: a bachelor's degree in a relevant field (for example, microbiology or zoology to become a clinical research associate is typically the minimum requirement for a research associate position.
  • master's degree: some research positions may require a master's degree in a relevant field, which may provide more advanced training in research methods and data analysis.
  • doctorate degree: some research positions—especially those in academia—may require a PhD degree, which provides in-depth knowledge and skills in a specific area of research. Even if the role does not require a master's degree, it can help to have one when looking for a job.
  • postdoctoral fellowship: occasionally, positions will require a postdoctoral fellowship, which provides additional training and research experience for individuals who have completed their PhD degree.

research associate skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a research associate include:

  • research skills: research associates need to have strong research skills, including the ability to design experiments, collect and analyse data, and interpret research findings.
  • analytical skills: you demonstrate strong analytical skills, such as the ability to analyse and interpret data and draw conclusions from your findings.
  • communication skills: you have strong communication skills that allow you to present research findings to stakeholders, write reports, and collaborate with team members.
  • technical skills: technical skills are fundamental to being a research assistant. You have technical skills relevant to your field of research, such as knowledge of statistical analysis software, laboratory equipment, or programming languages.
  • organisational skills: your organisational skills are essential in fulfilling your duties as a research associate. These include the ability to manage research projects, meet deadlines, and prioritise tasks.
  • ethical awareness: ethical awareness is another important skill to have for a research associate, including the ability to conduct research in compliance with ethical and regulatory standards.
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FAQs about working as a research associate

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of research associate.

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