Biologists are scientists who study living organisms. With degree-level or equivalent qualifications, biologists can work in many fields, including the biotechnology industry, food technology, medical research, education, agriculture and conservation. There are also openings for laboratory assistants and technicians.
Biologists can work in the pharmaceutical industry developing and testing new drugs. Biologists investigate the effects of a disease on the body and how the body responds.
Breweries, dairies, large food-processing and retailing firms all recruit biologists at both technician and graduate level. Food processing has become more and more complex, and new techniques are being developed all the time. Biologists can work in agrochemical and fertiliser industry finding ways to protect crops from pests and disease, and to improve yields. Government-funded research establishments employ biologists at all levels. For example, Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the Food Standards Agency, Forensic Science Service and Forest Research, part of the Forestry Commission.
Environmental consultancy offers graduates of biological sciences the opportunity to work for clients on issues such as water pollution, waste management, ecological management, land contamination and emission monitoring
The NHS offer many opportunities for biologists include working in a hospital medical laboratory in an area such as:
- immunology – studying the defence mechanisms of the body
- histopathology – the study of tissue samples
- haematology – the study of blood.
A biological scientist needs:
- a high standard of numeracy and problem-solving skills
- good powers of observation
- a careful approach to practical work and accuracy when recording/reading results
- patience and persistence
- curiosity and an interest in living things!
Chemistry is about what substances are made of, how they interact and how they affect our lives. Chemists can work in many areas – industry, the community, medicine or education. Most opportunities require degree-level qualifications, but it is possible to enter some career areas with lower-level qualifications.
The results of work done by chemists are all around us. Detergents, plastics, packaging, the materials our clothes are made of, petrol, paints… these are just a few examples of the everyday products we use without giving much thought for the chemists involved in their development. Chemists also work on environmental issues and are at the forefront of creating new medicines. As scientific knowledge is constantly changing, chemists have to keep up to date through continuing professional development.
Chemistry is a challenging and exciting career for those who:
- can work in a team
- can communicate well with people from a range of professional backgrounds
- think logically
- are creative
- have analytical skills
- are persistent and can pay attention to detail.
An understanding of physics helps us to work out how and why things behave as they do, and is vital to developments in the modern world. The majority of opportunities require study to degree level, or beyond, but there are some technician-level jobs for those with qualifications at a lower level.
From space science to nanophysics, from medical treatments to mobile phones, physics makes an impact on virtually every area of our lives. Studying physics offers a challenging but rewarding route to understanding the universe.
When looking at problems or new developments, physicists normally work closely with scientists from other disciplines, and with engineers. Physicists may work for very small companies or for large multi-national organisations.
A physicist’s work may involve:
- developing theories
- devising models and simulations
- organising and conducting tests and experiments
- writing up observations and findings in reports or scientific papers
- presenting findings at meetings and conferences.