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Job roles for science graduates

22 Jun 2023, 13:22

The main jobs you can do with a science degree include research and discovery, development, clinical trials, manufacturing, and quality assurance/control.

scientist working in a lab

Research & development

The focus of research and development (R&D) is mainly on creating products, processes or commercial applications using innovative, multidisciplinary approaches. Current R&D activity in private industry in Ireland is focused on clean and green technologies, life sciences and pharmaceuticals.

Ireland continues to be a favoured manufacturing base for leading biotechnology, medical device, pharmaceutical and chemical companies. Scientists working in manufacturing and production turn raw materials into finished products. This involves the design, development and implementation of systems and procedures and the planning and control of scientific equipment to ensure that products are of specified quality. You could also be involved in process development, which entails improving existing manufacturing processes.

Quality assurance and control

Quality assurance (QA) or quality control (QC) involves ensuring that products are manufactured to a high quality in accordance with the recommended standards, and involves analysing raw materials, intermediates and the finished product. Quality is important at all stages of production, from the initial stages when raw materials are received to ensuring that standards are met during the production phase, and testing and monitoring the product at the completion stage to ensure that it meets the required standard. You could be involved in monitoring environmental factors like water and air quality, as well as checking and testing raw materials and products in the lab.

Regulatory affairs

Opportunities for regulatory affairs officers, managers and consultants are found in the pharmaceutical, chemical, clinical research, medical device and biotechnology industries. There will always be opportunities in this area, as companies must comply with legal standards. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to rate Irish manufacturers in the pharmachemical sector positively in terms of regulatory compliance. You could be involved in ensuring regulatory compliance is adhered to for the appropriate Irish and European guidance documents. You could also be involved in mainstreaming quality systems, such as risk assessments, complaints, rejects, disposal, self-inspection, or batch reviews as required. You may assist the QA team in developing strategies for the overall quality function of the company, too.

Clinical trials

There are many opportunities in the clinical trials industry in Ireland. All medicines must undergo clinical trials before they are granted licences. Scientists are involved in setting up trials to ensure that new pharmaceutical and chemical products are safe for use. You could be involved in lab-based research, or using statistical methods to analyse and interpret results, or managing and monitoring trials.

Medical devices

This is a massive industry in Ireland. The sector employs over 29,000 people in Ireland and is the second largest employer of medtech professionals in Europe. Ireland is one of the largest exported of medical products in Europe with annual exports of €12.6 billion and companies here directly export to over 100 countries worldwide. Read more about it here

Other job roles

Other jobs roles you may consider include:

Chemical development engineer

A chemical development engineer creates and develops industrial processes and plants to make products such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fuels.

Production engineer

A production engineer designs, implements, monitors and maintains manufacturing processes to achieve the most efficient, cost-effective and high-quality production possible.

Process development engineer

Process development engineers aim to optimise the performance of manufacturing systems by improving the quality of the product, increasing production capacity and reducing costs.


Microbiologists study microbes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae and protozoa. Areas of specialism include: basic research; medicine; healthcare; food; industry, such as pharmaceuticals, toiletries and biotechnology, agriculture and the environment.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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