Landing a life sciences job
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Here’s everything you need to know to land a career in life sciences

2 Jun 2017

As Life Sciences Week comes to an end, we look back over a week’s worth of career advice, news and insider know-how.

This week on, we celebrated life sciences in all its iterations. We looked at medtech and the machines that will be keeping us alive, CRISPR and the concept of editing our very DNA, and artificial intelligence and the other tech that could make us immortal.

Future Human

And, of course, we looked at careers in the sector.

We started the week by detailing the biotech and pharma giants with operations in Ireland. These are some of the companies that make up the Irish biopharma sector, and are big employers across the island.

Life sciences has been a big employer in Ireland for a while. So far this year, almost 850 new jobs have been announced in that sector alone. We also did a little research and found nine companies who are hiring in the area right now.

It won’t necessarily be smooth sailing for those companies, as the sector is facing a talent gap brought about by rapid, unceasing growth. We spoke to some pharma leaders, who gave us some insight into how that gap could be narrowed and the pipeline bolstered.

We also have some tips for those who want to build a career in biopharma, from getting the right education to finding the right path for you.

We asked Hays to give us some guidance on how life sciences grads can decide what career path to follow, and also learned about some of the areas where recruitment is experiencing an uptick.

Once you’ve absorbed all of that info, and know the direction you’re heading in, it’s all a matter of fine-tuning your approach to land the job of your dreams at the company of your dreams.

We talked to Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and MSD about what they’re looking for from candidates and talent, and why Ireland is the perfect location for a biopharma hub.

The expert advice

One of the best ways to land your dream job is to seek advice from someone who works in the same area. We tracked down 10 people you should absolutely follow on social media if you’re looking for life sciences tips.

We also spoke to some people currently working in the life sciences sector to find out about their work. We heard from Dublin City University’s (DCU) Owen Clarkin about his research into stopping aneurysm; Glasgow University’s Niamh Mannion, who is working in leukaemia research to find a way to treat cancer; and University of Limerick’s (UL) Tadhg MacIntyre, who told us about the future of exercise.

We also spoke to clinical operations manager Ciara Gorey, bioprocess associate Joseph Taylor, and CEO Emma O’ Shea to find out more about their work in research and development.

Finally, we got a full overview of the future of biopharma and jobs within it from Killian O’Driscoll, director of projects at the National Institute for Biopharma Research and Training (NIBRT).

As always, for more on any of these stories, follow the links below.

1. Ireland is home to 24 of the world’s top biotech and pharma companies

Roughly 20 years ago, Ireland had about 50 biopharma companies dotted throughout the country. Recent numbers put that figure at more than 300 companies. Here are just some of them.

2. Almost 850 biopharma jobs announced so far this year

The biopharma and biotech sectors have been extremely fruitful this year, with more than 830 jobs announced so far.

3. 9 top companies hiring in biopharma right now

Ireland is a major global hotspot for some of the biggest biotech and pharma giants in the world, and, with a huge pipeline of talent to match the life sciences sector, opportunities in Ireland seem unending.

4. How to bring more talent into the world of life sciences

The many branches of sci-tech are constantly looking for top talent. The opportunities are growing exponentially and the talent pipeline isn’t sustainable by education alone. This means that it is up to the industries themselves to develop the talent they need.

5. How to build a biopharma career in 5 easy(ish) steps

Want to work in the exciting world of biopharma? Here’s how to become a success in five relatively easy steps.

6. Do you know where your life sciences degree will take you?

At this time of year, students all over the country are considering their career options. Life sciences graduates, in particular, are faced with a multitude of options that may seem overwhelming. Hays explains how the sector operates and where graduate jobs exist.

7. 10 life sciences areas recruiting hard in 2017

As the life sciences sector has gone from strength to strength, the number and variety of roles within it have grown. Hays’ Paul Strouts gives us an overview of the hiring trends being shaped by that growth.

8. What makes Ireland the perfect place for biopharma?

Ireland is one the leading hubs in the world for the biopharma sector. But what makes it so great for the pharma giants?

9. BMS: ‘We’re looking for the best and brightest talent’

In light of continued growth in the biopharma sector, BMS discusses what the company looks for from candidates, and why Ireland is an ideal biopharma hub.

10. How can you make your career matter? Spend it saving lives

At a NIBRT event in April of this year, we caught up with Gary Collins, director of operations for biologics at MSD, to talk about what makes biopharma a great sector to work in.

11. 10 people to follow if you want a career in life sciences

Want to work in the exciting world of life sciences? Check out these industry experts and role models in everything from research to biopharma.

12. The new gold standard: How will the latest research prevent aneurysms?

Dr Owen Clarkin, a lecturer at DCU, gives us an in-depth look at his work on a new biomedical technology that could prevent brain aneurysms.

13. Working to cure cancer: The research that could make it treatable

Dr Niamh Mannion, a postdoctoral researcher at the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, University of Glasgow, explains her work with leukaemia research and outlines its possible benefits.

14. How will green exercise change your life?

Tadhg E MacIntyre, lecturer and researcher at the Health Research Institute (HRI), UL, talks us through his research into the societal and environmental impacts of ‘green exercise’, and explains why science advocacy is so important right now.

15. From Mice to Men: An insider look at the world of clinical trials

Ciara Gorey, clinical operations manager at Richmond Pharmacology, is part of the team shepherding new medicines on their way from trial to market. She gave us an insight into how that process works.

16. ‘The future of biopharma looks bright and promising’

Joseph Taylor, a bioprocess associate at BMS, walks us through a day in his job.

17. From student to CEO: The Cork scientist tackling a new adventure

Emer O’ Shea is the co-founder and CEO of start-up Khonsu Therapeutics, which is currently participating in the RebelBio accelerator programme in Cork. Here, she charts her path from a neuroscience undergrad to helming a company.

18. What will working in biopharma look like in the future?

Killian O’Driscoll, director of projects at the NIBRT, gives us some insight into the future of work within the biopharma sector.

Kirsty Tobin
By Kirsty Tobin

Kirsty Tobin served as careers editor of Silicon Republic from 2015 up to August 2017. When she was younger, she had a dream where she started and won a fight with a T-Rex, so she’s pretty sure she kicked butt at this, too. Passions include eating all the cake, watching more TV than is healthy and sassy comebacks.

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