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Occupation Details

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Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

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Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience plus specialist training to be able to do their job.

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Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

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These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. They may also require very specialist skills. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

Shortage Indicator

While the supply of graduates appears to be sufficient to meet the annual recruitment requirement (5,500 graduates in 2017), the demand is arising for roles for those with a high level of experience and/or in niche areas. The demand is for a small number of people given the relatively small size of this occupation (approx. 1% of total employment) and in the areas associated with pharmaceuticals, biopharma and food development.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category


Also included in this category:

Analytical chemists; industrial chemists; biomedical scientists; forensic scientists; microbiologists; geologists; medical physicists; meteorologists.

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 6%
Male / Female: 60 / 40%
Non-Nationals: 21%
With Third Level: 95%
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At a Glance... header image

Researches how the nervous system behaves; develops pharmaceuticals for neurological disorders.

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The Work header image

Neuroscientists study the development and function of the nervous system, which includes the brain, the spinal cord, and nerve cells throughout the body. 

Neuroscientists conduct research on patients and on laboratory animals including rats and mice. (Neurologists, on the other hand, are practicing physicians who diagnose and treat neurological diseases in humans).

They may specialise in one part of the nervous system, such as neurotransmitters, or focus their research on specific behaviors, such as psychiatric disorders.

Illnesses based in the nervous system include Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Neuroscientists typically take part in publicly funded research projects at universities, research institutes, or government facilities.

The are also engaged in applied research for private industry, such as the development of new pharmaceutical treatments or other biotechnology products.

Some treat patients as licensed neurosurgeons and neurologists.

Neuroscientists typically perform research in offices or laboratories. Some work in clinics and hospitals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients.

Neuroscientists begin experiments by preparing tissue and cell samples. They make use of antibodies, dyes, and gene probes to identify different components of the nervous system. Tools and equipment used to monitor brain and nerve activity include magnetic resonance imagers and microelectrodes. Some use computers to create nervous system models, while others study the simplified nervous system of insects to better isolate certain behaviors.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

It is essential for Neuroscientists to have good communication skills, patience and the ability to work within a team of health care specialists. 

An analytical mindset and good problem solving skills are key in this line of work.

Mathematical and computational skillsets are crucial as well as attention to detail in your research and the ability to work to a high level of accuracy.

Entry Routesheader image

A Neuroscientist may or may not have a degree in medicine. They may complete a Bachelor's Degree in neuroscience or in a biological science to prepare for graduate studies and research. Relevant subject areas include computer science, cognitive science, mathematics, and physics.

Those wishing to purse clinical work must also have completed Degree in Medicine.

In addition to neuroscience, graduates may choose advanced degree fields in such areas as neurobiology or pharmacology.

Permanent research positions in neuroscience commonly require postdoctoral fellowships to gain laboratory experience.

Last Updated: October, 2014

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Contactsheader image


Organisation: Neuroscience Ireland
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Science Foundation Ireland
Address: Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
Tel: 01 - 607 3200
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Smart Futures
Address: Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
Tel: (01) 607 3171
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Medical & Healthcare
Biomedical Technologies & Medtech
Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science

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