Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Brian Kelly from PharmaChemical Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Brian Kelly

Science Entrepreneur

PharmaChemical Ireland

Read more...

  Brian Kelly
Go for it!  But realise that its not going to be easy and things take time and there are LOTS of sacrifices to make. Also make sure you learn from your mistakes - because you will make them. It is really only a mistake if you don't learn from it.
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Realist?
Realist 
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Information from National Skills Bulletin 2009, compiled by FAS and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs
Science Occupations
Engineering Occupations
 
Skills shortages
More information on skills shortages can be found in the Labour Market Information section of this site.
• Biological / Microbiological Scientist
• Engineer - Chemical
• Engineer - Chemical Process
• Engineer - Manufacturing
• Engineer - Polymer
• Engineer - Validation
• Laboratory Technician
• QA (Quality Assurance) Analyst
• Scientist
 
Sample Occupations
• Analytical Chemist 
• Aromatherapist 
• Biochemist 
• Biological / Microbiological Scientist 
• Biology Laboratory Technician 
• Biomedical Scientist 
• Biotechnologist 
• Botanist 
• Brewer 
• Chemical Plant Process Technician 
• Chemist 
• Chemistry Laboratory Technician 
• Colour Technologist 
• Coroner 
• Cytogenetic Technologist 
• Dairy Industry Scientist 
• Engineer 
• Engineer - Biochemical 
• Engineer - Biomedical 
• Engineer - Chemical 
• Engineer - Chemical Process 
• Engineer - Manufacturing 
• Engineer - Mining / Geological 
• Engineer - Petroleum 
• Engineer - Polymer 
• Engineer - Sterilisation 
• Engineer - Validation 
• Environmental Officer 
• Epidemiologist 
• Food Scientist 
• Food technologist 
• Gas Distribution Worker 
• Gas Engineer 
• Genetic Engineer 
• Genetic technologist 
• Geneticist 
• Geochemist 
• Haematologist 
• Hazardous Waste Specialist 
• Immunologist 
• Industrial Chemist 
• Laboratory Assistant 
• Laboratory Manager 
• Laboratory Technician 
• Light Industry Assembler 
• Materials Scientist / Technologist 
• Materials Technician 
• Metallurgist 
• Microbiologist 
• Molecular Biologist 
• Neuroscientist 
• Nutritionist 
• Patent Examiner 
• Pharmaceutical Technician 
• Pharmacist 
• Pharmacologist 
• Photographic Technician / Processing Assistant 
• Production Manager - Engineering 
• Production Manager - Manufacturing 
• Production Planner 
• QA (Quality Assurance) Analyst 
• QA (Quality Assurance) Manager 
• Radiographer - Industrial 
• Research Scientist 
• Science Communicator 
• Scientist 
• Toxicologist 
• Water Treatment Plant Operator 

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Chemical and Process Engineering

Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the application of physical science (e.g. chemistry and physics), with mathematics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms. In addition to producing useful materials, chemical engineering is also concerned with pioneering valuable new materials and techniques, an important form of research and development. A person employed in this field is called a Chemical engineer.

Chemical engineering largely involves the design and maintenance of chemical processes for large-scale manufacture. Chemical engineers in this branch are usually employed under the title of Process engineer. The development of the large-scale processes characteristic of industrialised economies is a feat of chemical engineering, not chemistry. Indeed, chemical engineers are responsible for the availability of the modern high-quality materials that are essential for running an industrial economy.

Chemical engineering is responsible for the production of chemicals for use in our everyday lives. Chemical Engineers work in a wide range of areas including:

  • Water and waste water treatment
  • Oil refinement and petrochemicals
  • Electricity generation
  • Food and beverage production
  • Cosmetics and textiles

The chemical and biopharmaceutical industries continue to be among the fastest growing sectors in Ireland. Nine of the top ten companies globally (Pfizer, Merck, GSK, J&J, Novartis, Roche, Amgen, Eli Lilly and BMS) have research, manufacturing and services activities here.

The National Skills Bulletin Report lists Chemical and Product Formulation Engineers and Analysts among the most frequently cited difficult to source engineering occupations, with reference to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical devices and chemical industries sectors.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering (BME) is the application of engineering principles and techniques to the medical field. It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to help improve patient health care and the quality of life of individuals.

As a relatively new discipline, much of the work in biomedical engineering consists of research and development, covering an array of fields: bioinformatics, medical imaging, image processing, physiological signal processing, biomechanics, biomaterials and bioengineering, systems analysis, 3-D modeling, etc. Examples of concrete applications of biomedical engineering are the development and manufacture of biocompatible prostheses, medical devices, diagnostic devices and imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs, and pharmaceutical drugs.

Biomedical engineers are found at the forefront of technological advancements in improving healthcare. They may be involved in:

  • The design and development of medical instruments and equipment.
  • Researching the engineering aspects of biological systems.
  • Researching new materials for medical products.
  • Adapting or designing computer hardware and software for medical uses.
  • Designing technology to assist people with disabilities.

Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry discovers, develops, makes and sells medicines. Nine of the top ten multinational pharma companies in the world have substantial operations in Ireland. Some 24,500 people are directly employed in the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland and of these over half are highly trained graduates. The sector actually employs 25% of all PhD researchers!  An additional 24,000+ are indirectly employed, providing support services, according to IDA Ireland.
[View Sector Infographic here]

Pharmacutical companies employ people with a wide range of skills and many are scientists, chemists, biologists and pharmacists. Others are engineers or manufacturing operatives, or may have qualifications in IT, finance, law, marketing or other specialist fields.



It takes about 12 years for a new medicine to go through the tests that are required before it can be prescribed by doctors. During this time hundreds of different people are involved, and the medicine passes through a large number of tests, designed to check that the medicine will work on the disease it is intended for, and that it will be safe for people to take.

As a result of the growth in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical device industries in Ireland, it is very likely that a student about to graduate with a third level qualification in science will find interesting employment in one of the following:

Research

This is a challenging and exciting area to work in and involves the initial stage of discovery right through to manufacturing and having the product ready for the market. Opportunities in research are open to all graduates who have obtained a science degree. There is huge collaboration between industry, third level colleges and universities in this area as the government has recognized the importance of R&D to our future economic growth.

The government is committed to investing in this area and will continue to do so in the future. Working as part of a science team made up of different specialists is the normal working background for the Research scientist. The work requires attention to detail, good organisational skills and the ability to comprehend and communicate complex data clearly.

With 9 of the top 10 Pharmaceutical and 15 of the top 25 Medical technology companies now operating in Ireland, job opportunities and research work in this sector continue to have strong prospects. There are skills shortages in the sector and Ireland requires many more researchers than the country is currently producing.

The Report of the Research Prioritisation Group set out a pathway for government spending in Research, Development and Innovation for the sector, to ensure that it continues to thrive. Those with the talent, interest and an enquiring mind will find rewarding career opportunities and will most definitely be in demand in this area.

Manufacturing
New scientific products such as drugs, pharmaceuticals or sophisticated medical devices require a massive amount of research and testing before they can proceed to the production stage. Careers in this sector include Laboratory technician, Quality control technician, Product/process technician, Environmental technician and Research scientist.

Major employers include the food processing, health care, pharmaceutical and chemical industries as well as state, semi-state and local authorities.In the case of drugs or pharmaceutics, when the product being researched is ready for development it requires blending chemical compounds with other ingredients to make the drug available in tablet or cream format. Quality control is vital at this stage. It requires producing the products to meet market demand in a cost effective and quality driven environment and at the same time meeting the highest standards in safety and compliance. For example this would involve ensuring purity and the correct chemical make-up at all stages of production.

Working in a laboratory or on a high tech production team is not for everybody. The attractiveness of having a science qualification, preferable a degree in the area can offer a wide range of diverse opportunities.  These opportunities are not all based on working in the lab.

Regulation
The production of drugs and pharmaceuticals can bring great benefits to people. They also have the potential to cause great harm. For that reason it is crucial that all pharmaceutical, medical devices, veterinary and cosmetic products be registered with Governments before they can be marketed for sale.

This regulatory area can offer very exciting career prospects.  Working in legal and regulatory affairs involves people preparing all the scientific and technical information to support the product approval process.  This must be done both for the local and global markets.  Employees need to keep abreast of changes in the law and communicating those changes to management and fellow professionals.

Sales and Marketing
This area includes the sales and marketing of science related products. Scientific products can be complex so that those involved in the marketing, sales and after sales support much have the ability to understand complex technical information and be able to accurately communicate it. This can include dealing with queries on how best to use the product, how to operate the device safely, briefing doctors, patients or customers about new medicines or products that come onto the market.

Scientific Journalism and Documentation
Medical writers are mainly employed by pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. They are required to write reports, which include drug registration, promotional literature, training manuals and scientific studies.

If you have a flair for writing and a strong scientific background, then scientific journalism could offer career possibilities. This type of career would involve a good deal of research, a good scientific degree and a flair for communication and writing.

Forensic Science
Forensic Science is the use of science as evidence in a court of law. It includes the study of both chemistry and biology. Some Science Degree courses include a module on this area, while dedicated degrees are also available through a number of ITs around the country.

Teaching and Training
If you enjoy science and would like to communicate your knowledge to the next generation, then a career in teaching may be for you. As well as the normal route into second level teaching by taking a Science degree followed by a H.Dip (Higher Diploma) there are a number of specialist courses now available to train science teachers. The continued expansion of the IT sector also offers teaching possibilities.

Getting into the Chemical, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sector

There are a very wide range of third level courses available to support people that wish to make a career in this sector in Ireland. Degree courses (Level 8 Honours Degrees) offered in Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology (IoTs) throughout the country provide you with a sound general grounding in chemistry and biology.

Some more specialised courses will focus on topics of relevance to the design and production of new medicinal compounds and the understanding of their biological actions. Many of these degree courses have a period of full-time paid employment in a pharmaceutical or chemical company as part of the course.

Institutes of Technology offer a wide range of Level 6 Cert and Level 7 Degree courses that emphasise the practical skills of getting hands on experience in the laboratory. 

Engineering Careers - Download the 2013 Engineering Sector Overview from gradireland.com

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Click here to explore STEM career options in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

SECTOR OUTLOOK

For Pharma companies globally, the expiry of patents is of key concern, however, the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland shows no sign of contracting anytime soon.

Research and development continues to play a significant role as the sector shifts towards personalised healthcare with targeted therapeutic interventions, leading toward growth in innovative delivery mechanisms, companion diagnostics, niche busters and an increase in biologics.

The latest EFSGN report (February 2014) highlights an acute need for Technicians and Senior Process Scientists and Engineers with specific skills to serve the need of the fast-growing biopharmaceutical manufacturing sector including: Biotechnology Skills, Bioprocess Analytical Technology and Data Analytics, Regulatory Affairs in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management.

Cross Enterprise Skills Needs

The most recent EGFSN Report additionally highlights a number of areas of skills in demand that are apparent across all sectors. These include:

  • Data analytics skills
  • Entrepreneurial competencies
  • Skills for creativity, innovation and design
  • Management skills and
  • Generic skills such communications and team working

Source: Guidance for Higher Education providers on current and future skills needs of enterprise - Springboard 2014/ICT Level 8 Conversion Programme, EFGSN, February 2014. Click here to view report.

 



  
Useful Links
Total Records:
Name Full Address Phone Number
Association of Clinical Biochemists Ireland (ACBI)

Discover Science and Engineering Forfαs, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin 2

01 6073184

ENFO ENFO, 17 St Andrew's Street, Dublin 2

1890 200191

Enterprise Ireland Enterprise Ireland, East Point Business Park, Dublin 3

01 7272000

Federation Of Irish Chemical Industries Federation Of Irish Chemical Industries, Franklin House, 140 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4

01 6603350

Forensic Science Laboratory Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin, 8

01 666 2910

Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Institute of Chemistry of Ireland, PO Box 9322, Cardiff Lane, Dublin 2

Irish Medicines Board Earlsfort Centre, Earlsfort House, Dublin, 2

01-676 4971

Irish Research Staff Association (IRSA)

Lifescience & Food Commercialisation Group(EI Bio) Lifescience & Food Commercialisation Group(EI Bio), East Point, Dublin 3

01 7272668

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) 18 Shrewsbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

01 218 4000

PharmaChemical Ireland Confederation House, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

01 6051584

UCD School of Biology & Environmental Science UCD School of Biology & Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4

01 7162243

 

 
Company Profiles 1
 
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PharmaChemical Ireland


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9 January
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• Financial Boost for Life Sciences Sector

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Online Resources 7
• Technology Ireland – Irish Science Technology Events
• Irish Life Sciences Directory
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• Biohealthmatics.com [US]
• Database of STEM resources [US]
• Future Skills Requirements of the Biopharma-Pharmachem Sector
• Report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group

146 CAO / HETAC Courses
Central Applications Office 146 courses found.
View full list

Some example courses in this sector...

• Agricultural Science
Waterford IT
• Analytical and Forensic Science
IT Carlow
• Analytical and Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Cork Institute of Technology
• Analytical Chemistry with Quality Assurance
Cork Institute of Technology
• Analytical Science
DCU
• Applied Biology
IT Tallaght
• Applied Biology
Waterford IT
• Applied Biology
Limerick IT
• Applied Biology and Biopharmaceutical Science
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
• Applied Biology and Biopharmaceutical Science
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
• Applied Biosciences
Cork Institute of Technology
• Applied Chemistry
Limerick IT
• Athletic Therapy and Training
DCU
• Bioanalysis
IT Tallaght
• Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Maynooth University
• Biological and Chemical Sciences
UCC (NUI)
• Biomedical Engineering
Cork Institute of Technology
• Biomedical Engineering
Cork Institute of Technology
• Biomedical Engineering
University of Limerick
• Biomedical Science
NUI Galway
• Biomedical Science
IT Sligo
• Biomedical Science
DIT
• Biomedical Science (Joint CIT & UCC course)
UCC (NUI)
• Biomedical Science (Joint UCC & CIT course)
Cork Institute of Technology
• Biomedical, Health and Life Sciences
UCD (NUI)
• Biopharmaceutical Chemistry
NUI Galway
• Bioscience
Letterkenny IT
• Biosciences
DIT
• Biosciences
IT Carlow
• Biosciences with Bioforensics or Biopharmaceuticals
IT Carlow
• Biotechnology
Athlone IT
• Biotechnology
DCU
• Biotechnology
Maynooth University
• Biotechnology
Athlone IT
• Biotechnology
NUI Galway
• Chemical & Biopharmacutical Engineering
Cork Institute of Technology
• Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
• Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
University of Limerick
• Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
• Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
DCU
• Chemical Sciences
UCC (NUI)
• Chemical Sciences with Medicinal Chemistry
DIT
• Chemistry with Molecular Modelling
TCD
• Common Entry into Science
DCU
• DNA and Forensic Analysis
IT Tallaght
• DNA and Forensic Analysis
IT Tallaght
• Drug and Medicinal Product Analysis
Limerick IT
• Engineering (Common Entry)
IT Blanchardstown
• Engineering (Common Entry)
Cork Institute of Technology
• Engineering (Process and Chemical Engineering)
UCC (NUI)
• Engineering Choice
University of Limerick
• Environmental & Analytical Science
Limerick IT
• Environmental and Analytical Science
Limerick IT
• Environmental Science
IT Sligo
• Environmental Science
IT Carlow
• Food Innovation
DIT
• Food Science
UCC (NUI)
• Food Science
UCD (NUI)
• Food Science and Health
University of Limerick
• Food Science and Nutrition
Letterkenny IT
• Forensic and Environmental Chemistry
DIT
• Forensic Investigation & Analysis
IT Sligo
• Forensic Investigation and Analysis
IT Sligo
• Forensic Science and Analysis
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
• Forensic Toxicology
Athlone IT
• Genetics
UCC (NUI)
• Genetics and Cell Biology
DCU
• Health and Performance Science
UCD (NUI)
• Health Science and Physiology
IT Sligo
• Herbal Science
Cork Institute of Technology
• Human Genetics
TCD
• Human Nutrition
UCD (NUI)
• Human Nutrition
IT Sligo
• Human Nutrition
IT Sligo
• Human Nutrition and Dietetics
DIT
• Industrial Biochemistry
University of Limerick
• Medical Biotechnology
IT Sligo
• Medical Science
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
• Medicinal Chemistry
TCD
• Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
DIT
• Nanoscience, physics and chemistry of advanced materials
TCD
• Nutraceuticals in Health and Nutrition
DIT
• Nutrition and Health Science
Cork Institute of Technology
• Nutritional Science
UCC (NUI)
• Open Choice for Mathematics with Education or Science with Education
Maynooth University
• Pharmaceutical Analysis with Cosmetics Science - REPLACED - See TL755
Tralee IT
• Pharmaceutical Analysis with Cosmetics Science - REPLACED - See TL755
Tralee IT
• Pharmaceutical Analysis with Environmental Science - REPLACED - See TL755
Tralee IT
• Pharmaceutical Analysis with Environmental Science - REPLACED - See TL755
Tralee IT
• Pharmaceutical Analysis with Forensics - REPLACED - See TL755
Tralee IT
• Pharmaceutical Analysis with Forensics - REPLACED - See TL755
Tralee IT
• Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Chemistry
Maynooth University
• Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis
Limerick IT
• Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis
Limerick IT
• Pharmaceutical and Industrial Chemistry
University of Limerick
• Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Cork Institute of Technology
• Pharmaceutical Healthcare
DIT
• Pharmaceutical Science
Athlone IT
• Pharmaceutical Science
Waterford IT
• Pharmaceutical Science
Waterford IT
• Pharmaceutical Science (Drug Design and Development)
Athlone IT
• Pharmaceutical Science - Common Entry
Tralee IT
• Pharmaceutical Science with Drug Development
IT Sligo
• Pharmaceutical Science with Drug Development
IT Sligo
• Pharmaceutical Sciences
IT Tallaght
• Pharmaceutical Sciences
IT Tallaght
• Pharmacy
TCD
• Pharmacy
UCC (NUI)
• Pharmacy
Royal College of Surgeons
• Pharmacy Technician
Athlone IT
• Pharmacy Technician
Letterkenny IT
• Pharmacy Technician Studies
DIT
• Pharmacy Technician Studies
IT Carlow
• Physical Sciences (Common Entry)
Cork Institute of Technology
• Physical Sciences (Common Entry)
Cork Institute of Technology
• Physics with Biomedical Sciences
DCU
• Physics with Medical Physics and Bioengineering
DIT
• Physiology and Health Science
IT Carlow
• Radiation Therapy
TCD
• Radiography
UCD (NUI)
• Science
IT Sligo
• Science
TCD
• Science
Maynooth University
• Science
UCD (NUI)
• Science
NUI Galway
• Science (Agricultural Science, Applied Biology, Food Science, Pharmaceutical Science)
Waterford IT
• Science (Bioscience/Chemistry)
Athlone IT
• Science (Common Entry)
Letterkenny IT
• Science (General Entry)
DIT
• Science (Undenominated)
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
• Science (Undenominated)
GMIT - Galway-Mayo IT
• Science - (Biological, Biomedical & Biomolecular Sciences)
UCD (NUI)
• Science - (Chemistry & Chemical Sciences)
UCD (NUI)
• Science - (Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences)
UCD (NUI)
• Science - Applied Biology or Applied Chemistry
IT Carlow
• Science - Applied Biosciences
Dundalk IT
• Science - Biological and Environmental Studies
Tralee IT
• Science - Common 1st Year
DIT
• Science - Pharmaceutical Science
Dundalk IT
• Science Choice
University of Limerick
• Science Education
DCU
• Science with concurrent Teacher Education
University of Limerick
• Science with concurrent Teacher Education
University of Limerick
• Science with Education
Maynooth University
• Science with Nanotechnology
DIT
• Sport Science and Health
DCU

28 PLC / FETAC Courses
PLC/FETAC Courses 28 courses found.
View full list

Sample courses...

• Applied Science
St. John's Central College
• Applied Science - Laboratory Techniques
Colaiste Mhuire Thurles
• Applied Science - Pharmacy Studies
Cavan Institute
• Applied Science with Environmental Studies
St. John's Central College
• Food Science
Templemichael College
• Food Science
Corran College Ballymote
• Food Science & Safety
Colaiste Ide College of Further Education
• Laboratory Science
St. Kevin's College Crumlin
• Laboratory Techniques
Listowel Community College
• Laboratory Techniques - Pre University Science
Monaghan Inst of FE & Training
• Laboratory Techniques - Pre-university Science Course
Drogheda Institute of Further Education
• Laboratory Techniques / Applied Science
Tralee Community College
• Medical Laboratory Science
Colaiste Dhulaigh College of Further Education
• Pharmacy Assistant
Killester College of Further Education
• Pharmacy Assistant
Wexford Vocational College
• Pharmacy Assistant
Drogheda Institute of Further Education
• Pharmacy Assistant
Monaghan Inst of FE & Training
• Pharmacy Assistant
Tralee Community College
• Pharmacy Assistant
St. John's Central College
• Pharmacy Assistant - Reception
Limerick College of Further Education
• Pre-University Science - Applied Science - Laboratory Techniques (discontinued)
Greenhills College
• Science & Laboratory Techniques
Cavan Institute
• Science - Applied Science - Laboratory Techniques
Central College Limerick
• Science - Pre - University - Agricultural Science
Dunboyne College of Further Education
• Science - Pre University
Bray Institute of Further Education
• Science - Pre University
Colaiste Dhulaigh College of Further Education
• Science - Pre University
Killester College of Further Education
• Science Applied - Laboratory Techniques
Limerick College of Further Education

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• FΑS Courses (from Qualifax)