Careers for Scientists Outside of the Lab
Medical Science Liaison
If a company employs you as their medical science liaison, you are effectively that company's scientific expert for particular drugs. A medical science liaison acts as the mediator between clinicians, researchers and the pharmaceutical industry.
As a medical science liaison, your focus is on drug education rather than sales. Your main responsibilities are as follows:
- Provide important information to colleagues who work in commercial departments (e.g. marketing, sales) and influence future strategies
- Educate key clinicians about medical devices or particular drugs
- Answer any scientific questions regarding medical devices or drugs
While working as a medical science liaison, you will most likely be assigned to a specific geographical location and will specialise in a particular medical device, drug or treatment.
Medical Sales Representative
Another hands-on job that might interest you is that of a medical sales rep. In this role, you will be charged with promoting and selling your company's scientific products to key healthcare professionals. These products can include:
- Medical equipment
- Prescription drugs
Your customers will mostly be hospital doctors, nurses and general practitioners. You'll visit a number of different institutions, working strategically to boost awareness and use of your company's medical and pharmaceutical products in hospitals and elsewhere.
Again, you will most likely be assigned to a specific geographical location, and you will typically specialise in a particular product or medical area. Your role will require you to:
- Answer questions about what you are selling
- Offer advice and meet sales targets
- Produce detailed presentations and organise events for healthcare professionals
Biopharmaceutical companies don't just require individuals with lots of qualifications and an advanced understanding of the science behind their products - they also need individuals who can write about those products clearly and effectively.
Regulatory agencies require a lot of written grants and documentation, so if you're a strong writer with a passion for science, a career as a technical writer may be perfect for you.
In this job, you will be responsible for writing specialist information about products / services and how they operate. You will be required to explain how a particular product or service is used in a way that is easy to understand. You may be expected to provide information in a number of different formats, including:
- User guides
- Reference and instruction manuals
- Instructional videos
- Illustrations & graphics
Quality Control Manager
Scientific companies - particularly organisations within the biopharma industry - often have a huge need for specialists in quality control and quality assurance. These professionals monitor the company's manufacturing operations and ensure the quality of all products and services that are released to the market.
As a quality control manager, you'll be responsible for coordinating the activities required to meet the relevant quality standards for your employer's products and services. You'll ensure that quality is consistent and meets both internal and external requirements.
The responsibilities of a quality control manager include:
- Devising quality procedures, standards and specifications
- Organising and managing controls and documentation procedures
- Training and supervising a team of quality control technicians
- Identifying methods that help to reduce waste and increase efficiency
- Ensuring manufacturing and production processes meet international and national standards
These are just some of the many science jobs that aren't based in a lab - perfect for anyone with a passion for science who doesn't want to be confined to research or working in a laboratory every day.