Principal Investigator, Laboratory Research Salary
Wages for Laboratory Research Principal Investigators in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($104K) per year. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by career duration, but the company and geographic location are influential factors as well. The majority of Laboratory Research Principal Investigators (63 percent) who took the survey are men. Most Laboratory Research Principal Investigators report high levels of job satisfaction. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a large number collect dental insurance. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Job Description for Principal Investigator, Laboratory Research
Generally, principal investigators of laboratory research take the lead in conducting scientific investigations in controlled environments. They set the parameters of what questions or hypotheses will be explored, and then create the outlines of how the research and investigation will look. The latter, and the execution of experiments, data analysis, and documentation of findings, are typically conducted with input from research and laboratory associates, so some principal investigators also serve as supervisory employees.Read More...
The most important aspect of this job involves defining the extent and parameters of research which will be conducted. Parameters that are too wide may bog a project down with too much data, while vague parameters lack sufficient focus; if the question is too narrow, the investigators risk conducting research with limited usefulness or application. It is not unusual for principal investigators to change the scope and focus of research and lab work after it has commenced, but, of course, most in this position strive to find the best balance in advance.
After setting parameters of laboratory research hypotheses and postulates, these investigators then define the best means of study and the ultimate execution of research for that particular project. This typically involves some input from a research team, which may consist of students and graduate assistants to whom principal investigators may delegate tasks such as assisting with analyses/experiments and collecting data.
Principal investigators in laboratory research are employed primarily by university science departments, private laboratories, medical research companies, and pharmaceutical companies. A post-graduate degree, if not a doctorate degree with professional certification, may be required by some employers. Most investigators work in both office and laboratory environments during traditional business hours, though the research they conduct may occasionally alter their own work-place or schedule.
Principal Investigator, Laboratory Research Tasks
- Serve as point of contact for the laboratory and/or project.
- Oversee and train research assistants on procedures and protocol specific to the project.
- Write and present reports and papers.
- Supervise, coordinate, direct and ensure research is completed on deadline.
- Write and submit grant proposals and secure other funding.
Principal Investigator, Laboratory Research Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Principal Investigator, Laboratory Research
Although E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co (DuPont) leads the field in pay with a median salary of $131K, employees there receive a wide spread of salaries, from $82K on the low end all the way up to $144K at the top.
The pay scale is far from balanced at GlaxoSmithKline. While salaries on one end can reach $168K, the company's median pay sits at $115K, the lowest in the field.
Pay by Experience Level for Principal Investigator, Laboratory Research
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Six-figure salaries are not unusual for those just entering the occupation — survey respondents with less than five years' experience under their belts report receiving an average of $103K per year. Laboratory Research Principal Investigators with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $130K. Folks who claim more than 20 years of relevant experience actually report a comparatively lower median income of $128K.