With 16 of the world’s top 20 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies operating in Ireland, now is the ideal time to consider a career in this rapidly-growing sector. Companies and institutions in Ireland and around the world are investing more in research and development than ever before.

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Alternative job titles for this role

  • Bioengineer
  • Molecular biologist
  • Biophysicist
  • Biochemist
  • Microbiologist


Working in areas as diverse as food and agriculture, environmental conservation and medicine, a biotechnologist uses biological organisms to create and improve products and processes. They study the genetic, chemical and physical attributes of cells, tissues and organisms, and identify practical uses for this knowledge. Using the techniques of molecular biology, they seek to understand and manipulate the basic building blocks of living things. The mapping of the genomes of living organisms, including human beings, has revolutionised biology while new frontiers are being opened with the study of protein chains and how they can be manipulated, creating a new and exciting field of study called proteomics.

What the job involves

  • Study the genetic, chemical and physical attributes of cells, tissues and organisms
  • Identify applications for this knowledge
  • Work with lab technicians on research, record findings and analyse the results
  • Design and implement research studies
  • Analyse research data
  • Developing new research procedures
  • How your career can develop

    With a degree level qualification, graduates can expect to work as a research associate in a range of industries and sectors or on pure research at a university or scientific institute. Masters-level graduates could expect lead a research project and team or as a lab manager or teacher. Doctorate level candidates can work as research scientists, a lab director or as a university lecturer.

    Why biotechnologists matter

    Biotechnologists are at the forefront of the continuous search to find new, sustainable food sources. Biotechnology is the use of biological processes, organisms, or systems to manufacture products intended to improve the quality of human life.


    • Complex problem-solving
    • Team work and communication skills
    • Investigative skills
    • Attention to detail
    • Innovative thinking
    • Observation skills
    • Interest in biology and technology

    Typical employers

    • Medical technology companies
    • Pharmaceutical companies
    • Universities
    • Scientific foundations and institutions
    • Agriculture and crop production companies
    • Industries working in areas such as biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil
    • Environments research in companies and institutions such as biofuels

    Typical salary

    • Graduate/Starting: €31,000 (approx.)
    • Senior/Potential: €54,000

    Typical qualifications

    A bachelor’s degree in biotechnology is the most common entry into the biotechnology industry. Students can attain a general science certification or diploma before progressing onto a biotechnology degree. Degrees in the following are also doorways to the biotech sector:

    • Biochemistry
    • Chemistry
    • Microbiology
    • Process engineering
    • Chemical engineering
    • Pharmaceutical sciences
    • Biology
    • Environmental biology
    • Medicine

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