A natural science manager is responsible for the planning and implementation of scientific research and activities. They handle the business end of science, including securing funding, writing proposals, managing employees, and deciding project goals and priorities. Natural science managers first spend time as scientists within their chosen field before moving up to lead research groups and plan projects. Employed by research institutions, the government, and private business, most large science endeavors have a need for a science manager.
Most scientific research is not a one scientist affair. Funding, laboratory space, equipment, and personnel must be all coordinated and planned for research to begin. This is the job of a natural science manager. Goals and priorities are set before a project or experiment begins, and a natural science manager insures that everything stays on course as planned. Should something happen to interrupt the schedule, the manager steps in to find solutions that work for every member of the laboratory or research group.
When working at a university or in a non-profit based research environment, one way to find funding for projects is through receiving grants. These grants are given by a variety of sources, including the government and private funds. Grants are awarded competitively, and there may be multiple projects vying for the same source of funding. Natural science managers are usually the ones responsible for writing proposals in an attempt to be awarded grant money.
The hiring, supervision, and training of employees within a research laboratory or project is a large part of a natural science manager's job. They are in charge of both fellow scientists and other personnel, such as administrative clerks and service employees. Delegation of tasks and roles between individuals within the research group is another responsibility of the natural science manager.
In a private business, a natural science manager serves much of the same role as at a research institution. One difference is that instead of focusing on finding funding, they work to communicate business objectives and goals to scientists. In turn, they also convey the needs of the science department to upper management, serving as an advocate for the research group.
Public outreach and communication between different departments and divisions is another responsibility of the natural science manager. They attend university board meetings and visit businesses. Any necessary approval for an experiment is obtained by science managers, and they stay informed regarding any potential government regulations that may affect their projects.