Biotechnology involves making a micro-organism capable of producing desirable biochemicals not available via chemical synthesis.
Uses of Biotechnology
Traditionally brewing, agriculture and dairy production.
- Medical and veterinary fields.
- Genetic engineering - improved plants.
- Health care products - antibiotics, vaccines, hormones - fermentation scientist.
- Biochemical products - enzymes, vitamins, flavours, organic solvents.
- Agricultural - nitrogen fixation, composting.
- Metal extraction - copper.
- Sewage and waste treatment - pollutant degradation.
- Energy industry - generating methane fuel from sewage and effluents.
- Receptivity to new ideas
- Problem solving
- Team-working in a multidisciplinary team.
- Microbiology is the main discipline plus biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, immunology, biochemical and chemical engineering. Not a distinct discipline.
- Mainly postgraduate/PhD/postdoc. Recruitment - not much for first degree people.
- Bioprocess technology and development
- Fermentation Scientist
- Genetic manipulation and engineering
- Protein engineering
- Downstream processing
- Cell Culture
- Quality Assurance
There are about 450 biotech companies in the UK employing about 21,000 employees. UK Companies account for 35% of products (drug development) in Europe & have 41% of new drug development in late stage clinical trials.
- Much of the biotechnology growth is in small companies - research and development posts in University Science Parks and new companies providing specialist products based on novel biotechnology.
- Large Pharmaceutical and Chemical Companies such as Unilever Research, GSK, Pfizer.
- Food Companies also recruit biotechnologists.
- Public Sector Research establishments and research councils such as the Food Research Association and the Brewing Research Foundation.
- Water Companies waste treatment
Biotechnology is a rapidly growing sector with many universities doing research into the area and then setting up their own businesses. An ageing workforce suggests that their may be skills shortages over the next 10 years.
The recession has meant that some projects have been postponed. There has been a farming out of research at Pfizer and SKB to the smaller pharmaceutical and biotech companies, as they can do this more cheaply than in-house. Some of the smaller pharmaceutical companies and scientific services organisations are growing due to larger companies outsourcing to them and also new drug discoveries.
Find out more
- The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council: Careers Information and Jobs in Biotechnology
- Bioindustry Association: List of UK Biotechnology firms plus profiles.
- London Biotechnology Network: Lists firms by sector in London.
- BioHealthMatics: Good job vacancy site covering Bioinformatics, Health Informatics, Health IT or Health Tech, Biotechnology and Telemedicine Jobs.
- TARGET Jobs Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
- TARGET Jobs Geneticist Job Description
- Prospects Biotechnologist Job Profile
- Royal Society of Biology