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Occupation Details

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Medicinal Chemist

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

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

5%
Occupational Category

Scientists

Also included in this category:

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

Number Employed:

17,900

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

An expert chemist with particular expertise in molecular design, the synthesis of drugs and understanding of biological functions.


Videos & Interviews header image

The Work header image

A Medicinal Chemist is part of the lab-based early stage drug discovery process.

Their day-to-day working is in the laboratory, and is based in synthetic organic chemistry.

The laboratory carries out different chemical reaction tests and then tries to purify these by doing such things as filtration, or using different solvents and reagents.

The work of a Medicinal Chemist involves Data Handling and Research and requires Practical Lab Skills, and the use of IT and Technology. Communication skills, Team Working, Organisation skills, Problem Solving, and  Time Management skills are also important.

Medicinal Chemists are employed by large pharmaceutical companies such as Glaxo Smith Kline.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Analyze organic or inorganic compounds to determine chemical or physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, or reactions, using chromatography, spectroscopy, or spectrophotometry techniques.

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Conduct quality control tests.

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Maintain laboratory instruments to ensure proper working order and troubleshoot malfunctions when needed.

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Prepare test solutions, compounds, or reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct tests.

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Induce changes in composition of substances by introducing heat, light, energy, or chemical catalysts for quantitative or qualitative analysis.

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Evaluate laboratory safety procedures to ensure compliance with standards or to make improvements as needed.

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Compile and analyze test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency or to diagnose malfunctions.

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Write technical papers or reports or prepare standards and specifications for processes, facilities, products, or tests.

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Confer with scientists or engineers to conduct analyses of research projects, interpret test results, or develop nonstandard tests.

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Develop, improve, or customize products, equipment, formulas, processes, or analytical methods.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

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Documenting/Recording Information: Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards: Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Chemistry: Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

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Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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Production and Processing: Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

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Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

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Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

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Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

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Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Entry Routesheader image

A Bachelor of Science Degree (B.Sc.) in Chemistry will give entrants a grounding in the different types of chemistry with the option to specialise as the programme progresses.

Work experience with a pharmaceutical company is valued.

Last Updated: November, 2014


Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Institute of Chemistry of Ireland
Address: PO Box 9322, Cardiff Lane, Dublin 2.
Tel:
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

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


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

Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science

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