Scientific Research, Analysis & Support
Many science graduates are keen to use their degree subject directly in a hands-on scientific role. Scientific research and development takes place in a wide range of settings: university departments, government departments and agencies, research institutes funded by charitable trusts and research councils and hospitals. There are opportunities in academic research, research and development (R&D), product and process development, scientific sales and commercial roles such as finance, human resources, IT and marketing.
Where do I start?
As a scientist you might be undertaking fundamental research, developing the technologies of the future, making scientific ideas a commercially viable reality, developing and refining manufacturing processes, or innovating medical solutions.
Within the scientific sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.
- Analytical chemist
- Biomedical scientist
- Clinical research associate
- Fields trials officer
- Food technologist
- Forensic scientist
- Healthcare scientist, audiology
- Healthcare scientist, clinical biochemistry
- Healthcare scientist, clinical embryology
- Healthcare scientist, genetics
- Healthcare scientist, haematology
- Healthcare scientist, histocompatibility and immunogenetics
- Healthcare scientist, immunology
- Healthcare scientist, medical physics
- Healthcare scientist, physiology
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Research scientist (maths)
- Research scientist (medical)
- Research scientist (physical sciences)
- Scientific laboratory technician
Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews.
- Cogent Skills - The Career Training and Pathways provides a huge range of job roles available in the science-based industries.
- Prospects - The ‘Science sector overview’ is a useful information guide focused on the huge range of occupations which the science sector encompasses
- New Scientist - Useful graduate careers, interview and postdoc advice.
- British Pharmacological Society - Information about the pharmacology sector with specific sections for careers and employment
- Biohealthmatics - Career site dedicated to biotechnology and healthcare IT professionals where can you search for jobs, read the latest industry news and get careers advice on how to get into and advance your career within the industry.
Work experience is a great way to develop your skills, enchance your employability prospects as well building some good professional conctacts with employer in the sector.
You could be looking for work experience with government organisations, research institutes and universities; a wide range of organisations recruiting into research and development provide opportunities for work experience through the summer. The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations.
You might also consider researching placement or internship opportunities in the science and research sector. The websites below provide further information about opportunities:
- RateMyPlacement - offers information on a range of internships and work experience, including science and research.
- TARGETjobs - provides a specific section on different career sectors, with the ability to search for placement and internship opportunities in science and research.
- Gradcracker - as the UK’s careers website for Technology students, Gradcracker provides a search function for placements and internships relevant to your degree discipline including science and maths.
- Milkround - provides a search tool for internships and industrial placements across a range of sectors, searchable by the keyword Science.
You can also search for work experience opportunities via specialised websites and individual companies, look at our finding a job section for suggested websites and companies.
However some opportunities might not be advertised, so it may be worth contacting organisations on a speculative basis. Speculative applications involves sending a CV and a covering letter to an employer asking if they have work opportunities if they are not currently advertising. Ideally, contact the company in advance to ask if you can visit to talk to them informally and to find out the name of an appropriate person in the company to send your CV to. Make sure you have researched the company thoroughly and highlight in your covering letter why you think you are suited to work in their organisation.
The UK Science Park website is a great resource to start speculative job hunting. Under the members section you will find a listing of UK Science Parks grouped according to a geographical/regional area. Once you have identified the region near to your area you can find out more and visit their own website to find a list of companies.
It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience, especially if you want to build on your transferrable skills. Purple Door offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Purple Door careers centre.
Tips to build experience:
- Talk to your tutors and lecturers: you may already have access to a wide potential network of contacts that you could approach.
- Use the University of Portsmouth Alumni Association to get in touch with alumni already working in the sector for advice.
- Large organisations post opportunities on Twitter and on their Facebook and LinkedIn pages so it is worth using social media to keep an eye on your chosen sector.
- Be proactive in arranging your own work experience by directly approaching organisations. In sectors dominated by Small Medium Enterprises this may be the only option.
- Talk to people employed in your particular areas of interest, as this will help you to get a real feel for the type of work.
Finding a job
The range of employers who recruit in this area include:
- Research departments within large industrial and multi-national firms.
- Research organisations
- Small to medium-sized ‘biotech’ enterprises (SMEs).
- Government departments, such as the Ministry of Defence; Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); Environment Agency; Food Standards Agency or NHS.
Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search
- NewScientist Jobs - Jobs board listing industry, academic and government bioscience, chemistry and pharmaceutical employment opportunities.
- The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry - Contains a list of large pharmaceutical recruiters. Useful advice on graduate schemes and provides links to various careers websites.
- MyPurpleDoor - can be accessed through our website to search the latest vacancies, save job searches and set up job alerts.
- TARGETjobs - Graduate job opportunties in science and research.
For Speculative Job Applications
- UK Science Parks Association - Provides contact details of a wide range of potential employers.
- ABPI Careers – Includes a directory of pharmaceutical and related companies, including a regional search.
- One Nucleus – Includes lists of biotech company clusters.
- Local business directories, often found on council websites.
- Key-word searches on LinkedIn to find companies in your region and sector.
Top tips to finding a job
- Many large organisations post opportunities on Twitter and on their Facebook and LinkedIn pages so it is worth using social media to keep an eye on your chosen sector.
- Arrange your own work experience by directly approaching organisations. In sectors dominated by SMEs this may be your only option. Refine your search by narrowing down by location and chosen sector.
- Several large employers as well as some smaller firms are present at the annual University of Portsmouth Graduate Recruitment Fair.
- Purple Door Recruitment Consultancy - works with over 6000 local employers across Hampshire and the South Coast, offering a job match service unique to University of Portsmouth students.
- Science Recruitment Jobs board - A recruitment website specialising in science, clinical and engineering roles.
- Pharmajobs - Specialised jobs in the Pharmaceutical Industry.
- Hudson Shribman - Specialised recruitment consultancy dedicated to the supply of personnel at all levels in a range of scientific areas.
- Jobs in Science - Recrutiment solutions in the Science Industry.
Need more help and information?
How can Purple Door help you?
Purple Door offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:
- Career options
- Further study
- CV and Covering Letters
- Application forms
- Job search
- And more......
Please visit Services for you for more details about our support and services.
Purple Door has an online Jobsboard advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Recruitment Consultancy team that delivers a personalised matching job service.
Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or Skype booked appointments; please contact us to discuss your needs.
Many, but not all, scientific research and development roles require a PhD. For information about applying for a PhD, or a research-based masters course please visit Vitae – for more information on research careers, example research career stories and researcher CVs.