Areas of work, specialisms and alternatives

Science jobs in the public sector

22 Jun 2023, 13:19

Careers for science graduates in local authorities and the civil service

person working in forensic science

Public sector organisations that employ science graduates include public analyst laboratories, forensic science laboratories, state laboratories, local authorities and environmental and health agencies.

The civil service

In the Republic of Ireland, you should apply for civil service jobs through the Public Appointments Service and in Northern Ireland through the Northern Ireland Civil Service's recruitment website .

Specialist scientific posts are available within the Northern Ireland Civil Service. These posts will require a specific degree, sometimes at postgraduate level. Most of the laboratories are situated within the Greater Belfast area. Jobs are also available with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development , in the NI Environment Agency and in the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland .

Forensic science

The Forensic Science Laboratory is part of the Republic of Ireland’s Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and provides a scientific analytical service in criminal investigation. Work by the laboratory is carried out mainly for the Gardai and through them for the courts. The laboratory is divided into four sections: Biology (crimes against the person, eg sexual assault and murder), Chemistry (mainly crime against property), DNA (eg genetic fingerprinting) and Drugs/Toxicology (analysis of substances thought to contravene the Misuse of Drugs Act).

All staff employed are civil servants. Vacancies are advertised in the national papers and recruitment is by competitive interview. The equivalent in Northern Ireland is Forensic Science Northern Ireland , although job opportunities are rare.

Laboratory work

The State Laboratory provides a comprehensive analytical and advisory service to government departments and offices in the Republic of Ireland, enabling them to implement and formulate the technical aspects of national and EU legislation. The State Laboratory is divided into sections: Agriculture, Animal Feedstuffs, Molecular Biology/Microbiology, Corporate Services, Environmental Heritage and Consumer Protection, Customs, Human Toxicology, Revenue-Excise, Quality Assurance, Veterinary Toxicology and Information Technology.

Health service jobs

Health Service Executive (HSE) jobs are available in the Science Laboratory for analytical chemists, biochemists, medical scientists, pathology technicians and physicists. Vacancies are advertised on as well as in the national and local press each week. In Northern Ireland, lab work can be available for biomedical scientists in hospitals.

Local authorities

Each local authority has its own personnel department which deals with recruitment so you will need to contact each local authority directly.

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