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Graduate Biosciences Jobs

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          Helping you find a career in the biosciences industry

          Biosciences is a broad category of potential career options including: continued academic/scientific research, ecology, toxicology, microbiology and positions within the pharmaceutical and agrochemical sectors.

          The common thread to all careers in Biosciences is that they all require the application of scientific principles to understand and solve biological challenges or identify opportunities for development.

          Some example Biosciences careers include:

          • A Toxicologist will conduct research into the impact of toxic materials on humans, animals and the environment, typically within a laboratory or field context. Toxicologists might work in a Clinical, Regulatory, Industrial or Pharmaceutical organisation.
          • A Plant Geneticist will work to identify and breed different strands of plant species with specific traits, for example drought or pest resistance. A Plant Geneticist might work for a business in the agricultural sector.
          • A Microbiologist might work within the Pharmaceutical, Medical or Regulatory sector, conducting research into microorganisms in a laboratory context, working to understand their impact on health and disease, agriculture and food safety.
          • A Geneticist will conduct research into the human genome and principles of heredity. A Geneticist might work in the private sector - for instance in Pharmaceuticals, or might work in a Medical context, or in an academic research position.
          • A Life Sciences Research Scientist might work in an academic scientific context, or in the public or private sectors, conducting research into a number of different areas connected with Biosciences, depending on the organisations specific needs.

          Despite there being such a variety of positions and potential employers available, most careers in Biosciences will require you to work in laboratories and often in the field, conducting experiments and analysing their results, interpreting statistical data and preparing reports into your findings.

          Biosciences Research conducted in the Pharmaceuticals sector will usually involve developing new products or understanding specific disease pathologies. Most Biosciences research conducted in the Agricultural sector will entail identifying specific strains of different plant species to ensure that they are resistant to specific biological or toxicological threats, as well as safe for human and animal consumption.

          Find out more
          • FAQs
          Skills & interests required for a career in Biosciences

          All careers in Biosciences require applicants to display rigorous practical scientific skills in a laboratory context. Bioscientists will need to display their abilities in understanding complex data sets, interpreting and explaining statistical trends in written reports for expert and non-expert audiences.

          It is important for applicants to be passionate about their work (in whichever field of Biosciences they are considering working in), and flexible in their approaches to problem-solving. Projects across the Biosciences sector can be long-term, with a number of ‘dead-ends' and their priorities can be changed midway through owing to different commercial, regulatory or medical pressures.

          Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Biosciences

          While careers in Biosciences can be varied, in the vast majority of instances you will begin as a Graduate Scientist/Toxicologist/Geneticist, working in a practical fashion in a primarily laboratory-based position (or conducting field research).

          As you gain experience in the sector, you may find you have less hands-on responsibility in the laboratory and focus more on managing projects and teams while working alongside colleagues in different areas of the organisation to brief them on the ongoing progress and final outcomes of projects. As you progress into more senior roles there may well be opportunities to increase your commercial or management skill-sets (for instance understanding the Sales and Marketing of different Pharmaceutical products).

          Many private sector organisations in the Pharmaceuticals sector will offer structured graduate recruitment programmes, often incorporating further academic study (for instance to acquire an MSc or Ph.D) as part of the training. Within the NHS, biomedical scientists will need to apply for the NHS Scientist Training Programme.

          Tips for getting into the field

          Arrange a meeting with your Careers Advisor to discuss your interest in working in the Biosciences sector and to get advice on potential routes into the industry.

          Depending on which area you are interested in specialising within the Biosciences sector, you may need to have studied specific courses or modules at university - speak to your university Department to discuss your degree structure to make sure that you are receiving the right practical and theoretical experience to support your applications.

          Work experience beyond academia in a laboratory context can be very helpful to securing your entry into the Biosciences sector. Some of the industry bodies and employers within the sector will offer summer vacation projects to allow student scientists to gain work experience - for instance the Society for Applied Microbiology. Ask your Careers department at university for details of different schemes that may be in operation which can offer you the opportunity to gain experience before you apply for a permanent position.

          How much can graduates earn in Biosciences?

          Salaries can be variable across the different Biosciences disciplines. A graduate Toxicologist can expect to earn between £20,000 and £30,000 per annum, while a Plant Geneticist might earn between £16,000 and £22,000 per annum. Starting salaries are typically significantly higher in the private sector (particularly within Pharmaceuticals) than in public sector bodies, while academic salaries are usually lower than both.

          What qualifications do I need for a career in Biosciences?

          Nearly all careers within Biosciences will require at least a good (2:1 or above) BSc (Hons) in a biologically-focused degree programme (specific subjects can include Biochemistry, Life Sciences, Environmental Biology, Microbiology). Often preference will be given to applicants with postgraduate qualifications (MSc or Ph.D), although some employers will support applicants in securing a postgraduate degree.

          Read more about the Biosciences industry

          Royal Society of Biology
          Society for Applied Microbiology British Toxicology Society
          The Royal College of Pathologists
          Food Standards Agency
          Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine Environment Agency
          Scottish Environment Protection Agency BSPB
          Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council
          Department for Environment Food Rural Affairs
          EBAR Chartered Institute of Horticulture