Job descriptions and industry overviews

Process/development chemist

22 Jun 2023, 13:20

A rewarding science career in big demand both in Ireland and abroad.

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Alternative job titles for this role

  • Biochemist
  • Chemical engineer
  • Biomedical chemist


The process chemist turns the research chemist’s discovery of a compound into a commercial product that can be manufactured at a reasonable cost. She or he takes that synthesis from the milligram scale to the manufacturing scale - taking them from the small quantities created in the research lab to the larger quantities that are needed for further testing and then to even larger quantities required for commercial production. The goal of a process chemist is to develop synthetic routes that are safe, cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and efficient.

What the job involves

  • Develop synthetic plans and design and run experiments to test their suitability for large-scale use
  • Use a variety of analytical methods to monitor reaction processes
  • Troubleshoot existing processes
  • Improve existing processes to reduce cost and increase reliability, purity, and safety
  • Use simulation or modelling software to analyse extensive data sets and determine how changes in process affect the final product
  • Maintain familiarity with regulatory regimes, including current good manufacturing practices and chemical hygiene plans

How your career can develop

A postgraduate qualification can be beneficial, as can relevant manufacturing or process industry work experience. Opportunities to gain experience and an insight into the profession are provided by many employers.


  • Commercially aware
  • Capable of working well under pressure
  • Capable of working well within a team environment
  • Technical knowledge is of particular importance
  • Good communication skills
  • Good IT skills
  • An analytical approach to problem solving
  • Good maths skills

Typical employers

  • Pharmaceutical firms
  • Universities and research institutes
  • Environmental agencies
  • Food and agri-science companies

Typical qualifications

Usually, a degree in chemical/process engineering followed by at least four years' vocational training with an accredited employer.

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