Careers and Employability Service

I want to work in Science Research and Development

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Scientific research and development involve using your technical subject-based skills, so good research/technical skills are essential. List specific lab skills and techniques on your CV, and highlight practical research experience, experimental design and data handling courses. Employers want to be confident you can apply these at workplace, demonstrating Good Laboratory Practice, an understanding of health and safety, and that you can work with precision and accuracy.
Every area of academic and applied science requires professional research and development scientists, from pharmaceuticals and physics to defence engineering and biotechnology. Private companies rely on the hard work of research and development scientists to keep them on the ball. Organisations must adapt their products and services in order to remain competitive. Otherwise, they will lose revenue and fall behind in the market.  Similarly, public sector organisations, such as the NHS, rely on research and development scientists to make sure that they provide the very best services.
Scientific research and development take place in most large, research-intensive universities, in government or charity funded research centres and in industry. Government or charity-funded research centres employing research scientists
Industries employing research and development scientists include:

  • Cancer Research UK (cancer biology)
  • DSTL, the Defence Science and Technology Lab (a range of sciences).
  • Large pharmaceuticals such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer and GSK
  • Specialty chemicals such as Akzo Nobel and BASF
  • Technology companies such as Philips and Siemens
  • Fast moving consumer goods companies such as Unilever, Coca Cola, RB, P&G and Nestle
  • Defence, aerospace and security such as Qinetiq
  • Contract research organisations, which undertake all or part of the scientific research process on behalf of a client, such as Quintiles, Covance, PAREXEL and LGC, who also host the function of ‘Government Chemist’
  • Scientific start-up or spin-out companies. Increasingly, cutting edge science is being carried out in small high-tech companies typically based in science parks and “incubator” units (where new companies get extra support)
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) link industry and academic research and development. KTP associates are employed by the university partner, but work with the industrial partner to apply the university's research.

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Last Updated: 09/09/2019