A research and development (R&D) department manager typically works under the direction of company executives and in coordination with other department managers. They oversee people, projects, and resources in the R&D department, helping translate organizational vision into actionable tasks; project ideas may come from the marketing research department, company directors, project team members, and past projects.
The R&D department manager is responsible for preparing budgets, providing timelines, assigning team members to tasks, and reviewing these team members' performance. They also review project results and ensure that results are delivered to the proper individuals and departments, such as the sales department or directly to clients. The R&D department manager may need to coordinate with government agencies and handle compliance issues, and they must stay up to date with developments within their field to best anticipate consumers' needs. Department managers also need to be aware of both the current skills and the potential of their team members and provide employee development opportunities as needed.
A master's degree or doctoral degree in a field related to the research the department performs (e.g., engineering or chemistry) is generally required for this position. The manager should have demonstrated proficiency with problem solving, as well as extensive experience in managing teams of various sizes. They also must be able to balance broad goals with the management of daily operations, as well as balance creative thinking with practical constraints.
Department Manager, Research & Development (R&D) Tasks
- Provide technical oversight and manage a group of employees or team.
- Design and execute plans to improve current products and create new ones based on market research.
- Lead, plan, develop, and implement new processes in research and development.