If the term ‘research scientist’ sounds quite broad, that’s because it is – indeed, research scientists are active in almost every area of science. Nonetheless, whether you are interested in a career in geosciences, meteorology, pharmacology or something different altogether, it’s helpful to know something about what life as a research scientist generally involves.

Working in a lab is more exciting than it sounds

Before we go any further – yes, life as a research scientist very much lives up to the stereotype of being based almost entirely in a laboratory, although of course, that may be music to your ears rather than something to dread!

In any case, the range of employers of research scientists is extremely diverse, encompassing the likes of government laboratories, utilities providers, environmental agencies, pharmaceuticals companies, public funded research councils and specialist research organisations and consultancies.

Much the same can be said of the many responsibilities – as a research scientist, you could find yourself taking on tasks ranging from the planning and conducting of experiments and recording and analysing data, to the carrying out of fieldwork and the presentation of results to senior or other research staff.

What other aspects of the job do you need to know about?

If you are thinking of aiming for a career as a research scientist, it’s helpful to know what personal qualities and professional qualifications will serve you best in your quest. It should go without saying that research and analytical skills are vital, but you will also need to possess excellent communication and presentation skills and an ability to teach.

As for more formal qualifications, as outlined by the National Careers Service, a 2:1 degree in a relevant science subject is usually expected for entry. In practice, you will almost certainly need a relevant postgraduate qualification as well, such as a PhD or research-based MSc, particularly for permanent roles. Experience of working in a research setting could also aid your search for such science jobs.

Your life as a research scientist, i.e, working patterns, hours and environment will depend on the kind of employer for which you are employed as a research scientist. Those working in a university research department can usually expect a 35-hour, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday working week. If you work in industry, however, there may be a greater expectation that you fit in with shift patterns, such as in the evening, at the weekend or on public holidays.

Research scientists can look forward to good progression opportunities

There’s a good level of scope for career advancement as a research scientist. While salaries start at an average of about £14,000 a year, they can go up to as much as £60,000, such as if you progress from a scientist with research councils and institutes to senior research or laboratory management positions.

Research scientists in academic roles who are more experienced and have published original research often rise to the status of senior research fellow or professor, leading their own teams.

There’s a lot to learn about what life as a research scientist is like, as well as about how we can help you to effectively compete for science jobs. Get in touch with Hyper Recruitment Solutions today about the work that we do to assist talented graduates and professionals into rewarding science roles, or explore the National Careers Service’s guides to some of the most exciting related jobs in science and research
Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineering is in many ways the archetypal science job, right down to the traditional white lab coat. It is also a very stimulating field of work; writing in the Guardian, Samantha Tyson of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) described chemical engineering as “all about turning raw materials into useful, everyday products”.

Qualified chemical engineers can also look forward to decent remuneration - a recent IChemE salary survey found that starting wages average somewhere in the region of £29,500 per year. More experienced chartered chemical engineers can expect to earn as much as £70,000, or even higher in certain industries (such as oil and contracting).

But how does one become a chemical engineer in the first place?

As with other science jobs, you need the right characteristics.

Don't be fooled too much by the 'chemical' bit of this particular job title - if you wish to become a chemical engineer, strong mathematical abilities are just as important as a firm grasp of chemistry. According to Tyson, maths, physics and chemistry are the most common A-levels taken by chemical engineering students.

But you will also need many other, often more general skills and attributes to secure a job in chemical engineering. These range from project and resource management skills and oral and written communication skills to analytical skills, problem solving, and the ability to work as part of a team.

Graduates seeking chemical engineering jobs will also be expected to possess strong IT skills, commercial and business awareness and the capacity to motivate and lead a team.

What qualifications will you require?

You won't normally be able to secure a role as a chemical engineer unless you have a BEng degree or a BTEC HNC or HND in chemical or process engineering. Admission to a chemical engineering degree course generally depends on you having at least five A*-C GCSEs, as well as two A-levels (including maths and at least one science subject).

If you lack maths and science qualifications, some universities offer a foundation year to help get you up to speed. As always, you should double-check the exact entry requirements with individual colleges.

It can be advantageous for those wishing to build an especially lucrative career in chemical engineering to also possess a master's degree (MEng) in addition to a first degree in chemical engineering. Those with a degree in a different branch of engineering (or a related subject such as chemistry or polymer science) may opt to take an MSc postgraduate degree in chemical or process engineering to boost their career prospects.

Chemical engineering is an extremely diverse field of work.

It's difficult to sum up everything that chemical engineers do in just a few lines. Depending on the exact role and sector in which you work, you may find yourself...

  • Designing plant and equipment configuration
  • Setting up scale-up and scale-down processes
  • Assessing options for plant expansion
  • Applying new technologies and researching new products
...among an incredibly wide range of other potential duties.

There are plenty of opportunities for progression, too. According to the National Careers Service, these include becoming a senior process or design engineer; progressing into a research and development manager role; or becoming a plant manager or overall operations manager. Consultancy work is another option.

Remember that Hyper Recruitment Solutions is a leading science recruitment agency serving those on the lookout for all manner of engineering roles, including process or chemical engineering. Click through to learn more about our in-depth expertise in this area.

Relationships - both personal and professional - are a fact of life, and if you wish to make the swiftest progress up the science career ladder, you will almost certainly need to cultivate harmonious relationships with those of relevance to your chosen sector. 

Of course, we serve those seeking roles in any of a broad range of science sectors here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, from biotechnology and pharmacology to energy and medical devices.

But in a world in which - according to one study shared on LinkedIn - as many as 85% of jobs are filled via networking, there are undoubted benefits to expanding your range of science-related contacts beyond simply signing up with a leading recruitment agency.

Here are some tips on how to do it.

Focus on quality, not just quantity

It's easy for many people attracted to the mystique of networking to think it's about little more than building a long list of contacts. However, what really matters is the quality of those contacts and how well connected you are to them. 

The best contacts aren't just those who have heard a rumour about a job opening at X company or Y company, or any other random person. Instead, they're the people who can give you useful and current information and additional relevant contacts. They are likely to be able to give you informed advice, in addition to meaningful assistance with your applications for science jobs.

But think, too, about how tight and personal the bond is with the most potentially useful contacts you already have. Do you know their name, job title and specific areas of interest? What about their educational history or family?

If you can get in phone contact with that contact and receive a positive, receptive response to whatever you ask them, they are a useful contact. Otherwise, they are simply one more name in your database.

Treat contacts with respect

Do you treat your contacts as potential allies - people who you listen to and who you can help with their own pain points, rather than merely people who can give you what they want? Your message to your contacts should be that you value them highly and - ideally - want to support and help them.

After all, showing respect to your contacts will maximise the likelihood that they respond in kind.

Part of this process should be being clear about what you want from that contact before approaching them, so that you do not waste their - or your - time. What kind of science job are you looking for, and what kind of boss are you seeking? Is this a person who is likely to help you, given your answers to the aforementioned questions?

Be patient and appreciative

Cultivating a contacts list that will actually help you to secure that longed-for science job will require a lot of patience and appreciation. Make sure you express your gratitude by personally thanking those who give you any form of help with your job search, and don't forget to 'check in' periodically and attempt to reciprocate with your own assistance, if you can.

According to one recent survey of US adults by Pew Research Center, 66% used connections with close friends or family in their most recent job search, while 63% used professional or work connections and 55% used acquaintances or friends of friends.

Clearly, then, networking looks unlikely to become any less important in the job search process any time soon. So, why not create what may prove to be one of your most crucial contacts of all, by making use of our considerable expertise in any of a vast range of science industries here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions?


Bioinformatics is far from the best-known field of science jobs, but it is a steadily emerging and increasingly important one. It has been described in various ways, including – by the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University – as “the application of computational techniques to analyse the information associated with biomolecules on a large-scale”.

A perhaps simpler way to understand it is as an amalgamation of biology, IT and computer science into a single subject. With ‘big data’ now ubiquitous across a wide range of industries, including life sciences research, scientists with computer science know-how are well-placed to take advantage of the ever-increasing breadth of career opportunities in the burgeoning bioinformatics sector.

What do bioinformaticists do?

Another way to describe the chief task of a bioinformaticist is as the logging, coding and/or retrieval of all biological information – especially proteins, DNA and mRNA – in an easily accessible format.

At the most basic level, a bioinformaticist is responsible for creating and maintaining databases of biological information. The majority of such databases consist of nucleic acid sequences and the protein sequences derived from them.

However, the most challenging bioinformatics tasks involve the analysis of sequence information, encompassing not only the discovery of the genes in DNA sequences but also the development of methods to predict the structure and/or function of newly found proteins and structural RNA sequences.

Such duties as the clustering of protein sequences into families, the alignment of similar proteins and the generation of phylogenetic trees are also central to the work of the best-qualified bioinformatics professionals.

Why is bioinformatics becoming so relevant?

It seems that there has never been a greater amount of biological data being generated than there is now, with the point at which biology, statistics and computer science cross bringing an abundance of new and exciting opportunities. Sure enough, professionals with experience of identifying, compiling, analysing and visualising huge amounts of biological and healthcare information have also never been in greater demand.

The flowering of bioinformatics as its own field has been attributed in part to a change in how industry and academia perceive it. As one bioinformatics professor, Wim Van Criekinge, has observed in an article by Science magazine: “Scientists and companies used to look at bioinformatics as a tool... but the subject has evolved from a service, like histology, to its own research arena... bioinformaticists are now the motor of the innovation.”

What are the main bioinformatics employers?

Those seeking rewarding bioinformatics roles are well-advised to look towards Cambridge, where several of the big research institutes in this field, including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute, can be found.

However, candidates with bioinformatics skills are also regularly recruited by big pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. Finally, there are also various smaller firms making use of bioinformatics, including those involved in personal care products, industrial organisms and agricultural applications.

Whatever the bioinformatics role to which you aspire may be – perhaps as a bioinformatician, biostatistician, head of bioinformatics or any of a broad range of other jobs – we can help you to find and secure it here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions.

Learn more about the depth of specialist expertise that we can offer to bioinformatics candidates, as well as the relevant available jobs for which you can apply right now. 


With 100% of NHS trusts supporting opportunities for people to actively participate in clinical research according to the NHS National Institute for Health Research, it’s unsurprising that the field also offers many exciting science jobs for those in possession of a nursing, life sciences or a medical sciences degree.

Clinical research associates are responsible for the coordination of clinical trials for new or current drugs, so that the benefits and risks of their use can be assessed. Employment is usually within a pharmaceutical firm or contract research organisation (CRO) working on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.

If you're considering taking up a Clinical Research Associate Career, here are a few things you should know:

What are a clinical research associate’s day-to-day duties?


The exact tasks that one can be expected to perform in this role depend on the employer, but typically range from the writing of drug trial methodologies (procedures) and the identification and briefing of appropriate trial investigators (clinicians) to monitoring the progress of a trial and writing reports.

Clinical research associates also often need to present trial protocols to a steering committee, identify and assess which facilities are suitable for use as clinical trial sites, ensure that all unused trial supplies are accounted for and close down trial sites on the completion of a trial, among many other possible responsibilities.  

As stated by Rebecca, one clinical research associate profiled in a case study on the website of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry: “No two days are the same. Every compound and every study is different, so each one has unique areas you need to look at.”

What qualities are required for this role?  


There is a wide range of attributes that tend to lend themselves well to a clinical research associate career, including a confident, outgoing personality, an ability to work independently and take initiative, teamwork, tact, attention to detail and good organisational and time management skills.

Great written and oral communication skills are also a must for building effective relationships with trial centre staff and colleagues, as is an enjoyment of travel, given the great amount of time that those in this job can expect to spend out of the office visiting trials.

What qualifications are needed?


To secure a role as a clinical research associate, you will almost certainly need to have a degree or postgraduate qualification in nursing, life sciences or medical sciences. This covers such subjects as anatomy, biochemistry, chemistry, immunology, pharmacology or physiology.

Those lacking a degree or who only possess an HND are unlikely to be able to break into this field. It may occasionally be possible for them to start in an administrative role – as a clinical trials administrator or NHS study-site coordinator, for example. However, even in this instance, considerable experience – if not also additional qualifications – would be required to progress.

Is a job as a clinical research associate right for me?


Those with a suitable science background who are interested in a role involving a high level of interaction with people and plenty of travel – potentially internationally – are likely to find a clinical research associate role highly rewarding.

However, this job does also have its negative aspects, including tight deadlines and a high degree of pressure, so it is important to consider whether you would thrive in this kind of environment – as well as whether you have the time management skills to look after what may be several trials simultaneously.

Finally, there is the matter of pay. With starting salaries of around £22,000 to £28,000, rising to as much as £60,000 in some senior roles, life as a clinical research associate can also bring decent monetary reward.

Start looking for the latest exciting clinical jobs here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions today, or enquire to our team to learn more about our highly informed and specialised science recruitment services. We can be your partner on your journey to success in your new science career. 

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