29 Nov, 2023 @ 11:46
3 mins read

Life Science Jobs: A Holistic Approach to Advancement


Careers in life sciences can not only be life changing, but world changing. With a wide range of specialisms within a multitude of disciplines the industry offers advancement into so many potentially rewarding job opportunities. Here we look at the qualifications you’ll need for a life science career, the opportunities that are available, and the ethical responsibilities that you’ll have to consider to take a holistic approach to advancement.

The Synergy of Science and Industry: Careers in Life Sciences

Life sciences are often also called the bio-sciences – comprising the study of living organisms, from microorganisms, through to plants, animals and human beings, and how their functions, processes and environments relate to the wider world. They’re how we explain our place within the universe, and they can help to solve many of the problems that face humankind, in areas as diverse as epidemiology, genetics, ecology and botany. The wide-ranging nature of careers in life sciences lends itself to research and development, applied research, manufacturing, and the excitement of discoveries that combine science and industry and that lead to profound innovations that enhance our knowledge of the world in which we live to try to improve it.

Pursuing Excellence: Key Qualifications for Life Science Professionals

On a practical level, the key qualifications for life science professionals include a degree in a life-science related subject and, depending on the nature of the role, either a research-based PhD or an MSc. Of course, life science professionals can choose to enter a variety of disciplines, so their qualifications should relate to their chosen field, or have applications within it. 

Other qualities that employers look for are:

  • A thirst for knowledge
  • Good research and data analysis skills
  • Project management abilities
  • Time management skills
  • Independent study/teamwork skills.

However, employers also look for ‘soft skills’ to balance technical abilities – these include good communication skills, a high level of computer literacy, problem-solving abilities, an understanding of marketing and business, and an agile and curious mind.

Collaborative Endeavours: Interdisciplinary Opportunities in Life Science Jobs

One of the joys in life science jobs is the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, sometimes in a quite unrelated field, to innovate and explore potential within a research theme. Interdisciplinary opportunities present the chance to learn and share in an increasingly-interconnected world, offering overlaps and areas of common interest that spark innovations previously unthought-of. Interdisciplinary work also develops critical thinking skills which raise aspirations and create opportunities for disruption and risk.

From Lab to Market: Commercialisation in Life Science Industries

According to Deloitte the global life science market is worth US$2.83 and it’s an industry that’s growing all the time, thanks to innovations brought about by ground breaking research and development. The opportunity for applied research which can be translated into commercial applications is available in a wide variety of areas such as biotechnology, medical devices and pharmaceutical companies but areas of growth include biopharma (including AI drug discovery), diagnostics, bioprocessing and digital health.

Beyond the Bench: Alternative Career Paths in Life Science

Some life scientists choose to move on from the clinical and development aspects of their roles and take up a variety of jobs which, while still related to life sciences, offer them the opportunity to expand their skills and experience in different directions. These roles can include teaching, whether at secondary or tertiary level, medical communications or science writing, regulatory affairs, quality control or even working for the government. In all these areas the knowledge and abilities that life scientists possess stand them in good stead for a successful further career.

Ethical Considerations: Balancing Progress with Responsibility in Life Science

This summer’s blockbuster film ‘Oppenheimer’ dealt with the quest to develop and design the first atomic bomb, and raises considerable ethical questions about the rights and wrongs of science’s ability to create and destroy. Life scientists must also consider the ethics of their specialism and try to create a balance of progress versus value. Considerations might take the form of the potential exclusion of older or disabled people when relying on digital technology, the storage and sharing of patient information, or even the use of animals in experiments. 

In conclusion

The opportunities and rewards for talented life science professionals are numerous and growing all the time thanks to technological developments. The chance to collaborate with colleagues, branch out into commercial research and development, take an alternative career path, and use empathy to consider ethical issues are all available for those seeking a career within this exciting and challenging discipline. 

Get in touch

What are your thoughts on taking a holistic approach to advancement in the life sciences? Share your thoughts on your favourite social media platform and start the debate.

Staff Reporter

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call 951 273 575. To contact the newsdesk out of regular office hours please call +34 665 798 618.

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