A research associate at a university is a researcher paid by research grants or other means to work at a university on a specific research project. As a rule, research associates are hired on a contractual basis and are not a permanent part of a university. In order to attain this type of position though, you will need to have a doctorate degree and have at least two years experience in post-doctoral work. However, outside the academic area, you can get a permanent position in this field with pharmaceutical companies or financial institutions without having a doctoral degree.
When you pursue doctoral studies in a scientific field, you can become a research associate as part of your fellowship at the university. You can apply to the university and if you are successful, you can receive an appointment to the position for a one-year period. These positions are usually offered to those who have achieved high grades in their studies and have published scholarly works involving research. You will also need to have excellent recommendations from professors and other high-ranking officials in the field of study related to the research. You must also demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the current research methods in order to be successful in obtaining a position.
The position of clinical research associate is one of the better known jobs in this field. In order to obtain this type of job, you do need to hold a Bachelor of Science in one of the Life Sciences from an accredited university. In combination with the degree, you can also benefit from having experience working or teaching in the medical field. You then need to enroll in a program leading to a certificate in clinical research. As part of this program, you will learn how to do clinical trials, and learn how to maintain good clinical practice. Clinical practice refers to the protection of human rights, the standards under which clinical trials can be conducted and safety issues when dealing with newly developed compounds.
One of the main points of training to become a clinical research associate is to know the US regulations for this field of research, called the Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations. This involves adhering to all the policies of the Food and Drug Administration. You do have to know these regulations in order to avoid doing anything that would put you, others around you and the company in general in jeopardy, as well as the general populace.
As a research associate, you will work under the supervision of a research supervisor and have the support of a research assistant. However, you will need to have exceptional writing skills in order to write the reports of the clinical trials and the case studies for which you are responsible. Depending on where you work, you may have to make presentations to your colleagues, so you will also need to be well versed in public speaking and in making presentations. Postings for these positions are advertised online as well as at the various universities and research facilities.