It's been a good year for salaries in the life sciences: Median salaries have gone up by 3.8% since last year, surpassing the consumer price index rise of 3.2% from July 2004. The top earners live in Boston, Mass. – which this year replaced San Francisco as the best place for senior researchers to earn big bucks – and work in drug discovery. These and other results of The Scientist's annual salary survey paint a mostly upbeat picture of earning trends in the industry.

With the only six-figure median salary, topping out at $107,000, drug discovery has outperformed clinical research as the most lucrative specialization; biotech is just shy of six figures at $97,100. Drug discovery paychecks have increased by 24% since 2001, while those for biotech have grown by 26%. The microbiology field has experienced the most growth since 2001, with a median salary increase of 40%.

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