Job descriptions and industry overviews

Analytical chemist

24 Feb 2023, 12:37

An analytical chemist assesses the chemical structure and nature of substances for a variety of purposes including drug development, forensic analysis and toxicology.

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Analytical chemists analyse samples using a range of modern analytical techniques including ion/electro-chromatography, gas/high performance liquid chromatography and spectroscopy. They are employed by a variety of public and private sector organisations, and can specialise in areas such as toxicology, pharmaceuticals, quality control or forensics.

Work activities

  • Using a range of software, techniques and equipment to carry out research and analysis.
  • Analysing and interpreting data.
  • Making sure that data is accurately recorded in accordance to guidelines.
  • Reporting/presenting results.
  • Writing research papers, reports, reviews and summaries.
  • Keeping up to date with scientific and technical developments.
  • Ensuring that health and safety issues are adhered to.
  • Preparing product licence documentation.
  • Liaising with customers, suppliers and research/scientific staff.
  • Developing new analytical methods.

Work conditions

Travel: is limited; work is mainly laboratory based.
Working hours: typically nine to five, with some longer hours depending on deadlines and workload.
Location: Opportunities are available with various government agencies, research organisations, hospitals and consultancies across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Typical employers

  • Hospitals
  • Government agencies
  • Research organisations
  • Consultancies

Entry requirements

A strong academic background is essential; relevant degree subjects are chemistry, applied/analytical chemistry or biochemistry.

A postgraduate qualification in analytical chemistry alongside work experience in a laboratory environment could further career development in the field. HE Institutions such as University College Cork offer suitable courses.

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