Pharmaceutical Research and Development (R&D) encompasses the early stages of the drug development process. Roles within this sector typically involve you working within a laboratory where you will identify molecules to be used in developing new medicines to treat a specific disease. Alternatively, your role may involve you identifying molecules to improve medicines already available within the market.
Before entering the R&D sector, you will need to obtain a PhD within a relevant field of study – such as Pharmacology, Life Sciences, Biotechnology or Biomedical. Once acquired, you will most likely transition into an entry level research role such as a scientist. Progressional opportunities thereafter include Senior Scientist to Laboratory Head/Team Lead. If you are looking to progress your career further, you’ll most likely move up to a head of a department and later a Director position. Although being academically minded is a key component of getting into this sector, you will also need to possess solid practical skills, be adaptable and have excellent communication skills.
Your daily tasks as an entry level scientist will include carrying out research into different molecules during the drug screening and characterisation process. You’ll also be required to attend regular meetings with your team to communicate your findings. To have a successful career within this sector, you need to be academically minded and possess solid practical skills, be adaptable and have excellent communication skills.
Typical roles within the R&D sector include: