R&D Mechanical Engineer Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | November 17, 2023
R&D Mechanical Engineer Job Description
R&D mechanical engineers conduct research, design mechanisms or systems, develop prototypes or models, and perform testing.

This post provides detailed information on the R&D mechanical engineer job description, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they commonly perform.

It also highlights the major requirements that you may be expected to meet to be hired for the R&D mechanical engineer role by most recruiters/employers.

Research and development (R&D) mechanical engineers play a role in the creation, improvement, and testing of cutting edge devices and systems.

Their work lies at the forefront of innovation.

What Does an R&D Mechanical Engineer Do?

R&D mechanical engineers apply their knowledge of mechanics, thermodynamics, robotics, materials science, and other engineering disciplines to conduct research, design mechanisms or systems, develop prototypes or models, and perform testing.

Typically, they report directly to an engineering manager or director of engineering.

R&D mechanical engineers can work in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical devices, industrial manufacturing, and more.

They are often based in corporate or government research laboratories.

This role requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or a related engineering field.

Many positions prefer or require a Master’s degree or PhD. Licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) may be preferred or required as well.

The role of a research and development engineer is a multifaceted one focused on driving innovation through advanced technologies.

The R&D mechanical engineer job description involves utilizing computer aided design (CAD) programs to conceptualize and model new mechanical systems.

It also entails performing extensive analysis and calculations to evaluate proposed prototypes prior to development.

The R&D mechanical engineer oversees prototype testing, analyzing results to pinpoint areas for refinement.

Collaboration with cross-functional teams is key, as R&D mechanical engineers draw on the expertise of others while bringing their creative problem-solving skills to the table.

Their research and technical knowledge allows them to push boundaries and continuously improve upon existing mechanical technologies.

R&D mechanical engineers may also oversee machine shop operations, mentor engineers, and deliver presentations on research progress.

The core responsibility of an R&D mechanical engineer is to leverage their expertise to envision the next generation of innovative products.

R&D Mechanical Engineer Job Description Sample/Example/Template

The R&D mechanical engineer job description consists of the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Conduct literature reviews and patent searches to evaluate mechanical technologies and research trends
  • Investigate customer and market requirements, for new mechanical products or applications
  • Develop theoretical designs and mathematical models to simulate mechanical systems and components
  • Use CAD software for mechanical prototype, device, and equipment design
  • Perform engineering calculations manually or with computer tools to analyze designs
  • Develop detailed technical drawings, schematics, and specifications for prototypes and products
  • Design and coordinate prototype machining and fabrication in workshop facilities
  • Set up instrumentation and sensors to record test conditions and collect data
  • Initiate test apparatus and perform tests on mechanical prototypes and systems
  • Review test data, compare to predictions, and identify areas for design changes
  • Document experimental methods, tests, results, and conclusions in reports
  • Refine prototypes and modify mathematical models based on test results
  • Collaborate with engineers and technicians to implement prototype modifications
  • Consult with manufacturing engineers to transition prototypes into production.
  • Evaluate prototype performance in terms of quality and durability through field testing
  • Oversee engineering projects using the product development cycle
  • Share presentations on research methodology, findings, and recommendations
  • Participate or lead engineering design reviews throughout the development process
  • Make engineering support available during patent application processes
  • Provide supervision and mentorship for entry-level mechanical engineers
  • Keep up with updating knowledge in mechanical engineering best practices and technologies
  • Write and publish technical publications and research papers
  • Team up cross-functionally with teams in design, quality, manufacturing, etc.
  • Uphold safety protocols and make sure laboratory and prototype testing adhere to regulations
  • Make sure engineering projects aligns with budget, timeline, and quality standards.

R&D Mechanical Engineer Job Description for Resume

If you have worked before as an R&D mechanical engineer or are presently working in that role and are making a new resume or CV, then you can create a compelling Professional Experience for it by applying the sample R&D mechanical engineer job description presented above.

You can highlight the duties and responsibilities you have performed or currently carrying out as an R&D mechanical engineer in your resume’s Professional Experience by utilizing the ones in the R&D mechanical engineer job description example above.

This will show to the recruiter/employer that you have been successful performing the R&D mechanical engineer duties and responsibilities, which can boost your chances of being hired, especially if the new position that you are seeking requires some R&D mechanical engineer work experience.

R&D Mechanical Engineer Requirements: Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities for a Successful Career

To excel in the innovative field of R&D mechanical engineering, certain skills, knowledge areas, and abilities are either mandatory or highly advantageous for candidates seeking the role to have.

Here are important requirements candidates may be asked to fulfill to be hired for the R&D mechanical engineering job by most recruiters/employers:

  • Proficiency in diverse engineering disciplines like thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, structural analysis, control systems, and machine design
  • Familiarity with relevant engineering software such as CAD (Computer Aided Design) CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) MATLAB (Matrix Laboratory) LabVIEW (Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench) etc.
  • Strong conceptual understanding coupled with mathematical skills, for modeling mechanical systems
  • Exceptional analytical capabilities complemented by effective problem solving skills
  • Skills in technical writing to author reports, papers, and documentation
  • Strong communication and presentation abilities to explain concepts and research
  • Ability to oversee prototype development and testing processes
  • Good understanding of manufacturing methods like machining, welding, casting, injection molding, etc.
  • Can skillfully use tools and technologies like data acquisition systems, sensors, lab equipment,   and test instrumentation

Mechanical engineers specializing in research and development (R&D) acquire many of the above skills and abilities during their engineering studies.

They also enhance their expertise over time through, on the job experience pursuing a graduate degree and engaging in education.

R&D Mechanical Engineer Salary

When it comes to salaries according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual income for engineers overall was $96,310 as of 2022.

In this year, certain states offered the best compensation for mechanical engineers:

  • New Mexico: $126,080
  • District of Columbia: $122,670
  • Louisiana: $118,250
  • California: $118,200
  • Alaska: $115,300.


If you find joy in designing, constructing, and testing devices, a career as an R&D mechanical engineer can be highly fulfilling.

As an R&D engineer, you have the opportunity to transform concepts into functional realities that push the boundaries of what is achievable.

This guide has provided information about the R&D mechanical engineer role, for individuals considering it as a career or employers seeking to make a job description.