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Analytical Scientists carry out a key function in the analysis and development of new products (drugs, diagnostics, devices etc), improvement of existing products, and the scale up to commercial manufacture within the Biotech and Pharmaceutical sectors. A wide range of scientific techniques are used by Analytical Scientists, from standard chemistry-based approaches such as HPLC, to complicated biological assays which are continually being developed to keep pace with the new and innovative therapies that are coming to the market. An Analytical Scientist may work on both upstream and downstream processes, from very small laboratory scale to large commercial scales. An Analytical Scientist role is crucial to ensure the quality of a product and that it is effective with no impurities, before moving onto the next phase of development. Within certain environments, Analytical Science is closely linked with (or even the same as) QC/Quality Control, in which case the Analytical Scientist might be scientifically analysing samples of raw materials, intermediates or finished products, using Chemistry, Microbiology or Biochemistry techniques. Due to the nature of the Analytical Scientist role you will be able to use your analytical science and thinking to develop methods that match the requirements of the products and scientists you are working with.
The titles in the Analytical Science sector vary and can include: analytical scientist, junior analytical scientist, senior analytical scientist, lead analytical scientist and principal analytical scientist, as well as analytical development scientists. In a more commercial GMP/GLP regulated setting which is more focused on manufacturing, analytical scientists may be referred to as Quality Control/QC Scientists, Quality Control/QC Analysts, or even QA Analysts (not to be confused with traditional QA, which tends to be more office-based).
Skills and Experience required to be an Analytical Scientist
- BSc, MSc or PhD in a relevant science subject
- Experience of working in an analytical science role in an industrial or commercial environment
- Experience of scientific analytical techniques which, depending on the environment, may include PCR, RT-qPCR, HPLC, LC-MS, GC, FTIR, GC-MS, MC, Western Blotting, ELISA, Endotoxin, Bioburden, and the design and optimisation of assays
- Strong data analysis and scientific software skills
Entering analytical science as a graduate, you could expect to earn something in the region of £19k - £25k depending on the location and company type. Salaries within the commercial Pharmaceutical sector tend to increase steadily but unspectacularly with each next phase, to around “mid to late 30s” (higher for managers). Salaries tend to be higher in the specialist Biotech sector, which often attracts people with a higher qualification level (e.g. PhD). In this sector, especially in London, Oxford or Cambridge, salaries can get a lot higher a lot quicker (e.g. £40k - £50k), though there may not be the same level of job security as companies may be more reliant on external funding grants.