I have observed that tenure-track professors are incredibly busy, and most of what they are busy with is not research but teaching/administration/service/managing their lab, and that they often get very little time to do hands-on research the way a PhD student or postdoc does.

For those looking for an alternative career path where you do get to spend quite a bit of your time with hands-on research, what options are there?

I know that there are “research professors” who are non-tenure-track, often 100% soft money, but that level of job insecurity sounds incredibly stressful…

My questions are:

1) How do jobs at “research institutes” work? Or jobs at major hospitals that have research programs?

2) Are there any positions where you have relatively good job security because you are there to help/consult/collaborate on multiple other peoples’ projects, but still get a chance to have a little research of your own too?

(FWIW, my PhD field is epidemiology, so I hope I could be useful to consult/collaborate similar to the way the biostatisticians do – but I’d hope to have at least a little of my own research too, even if it was just little things that could be done without grants (eg. secondary analysis of large public datasets))

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