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Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.

In this Sector...

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

What’s It About

Before any treatment can be provided to the general population, it must go through rigorous testing to ensure it is safe and effective. This process of experimentation is referred to as a clinical trial.

These trials occur in phases, where the drug is tested on patients or on healthy volunteers. Clinical Trials are guided by strict codes of ethics which protect the participants and authorisation must be received from the Health Products Regulatory Authority before any trial can be carried out in Ireland. There are also strict government regulations governing when drugs are safe and effective enough to be offered as a treatment, working on clinical trials means working towards passing the drug through these requirements. Most drugs will fail at some point in the clinical trial process.

How the trials will be conducted varies depending on the nature of the medical product under development. Generally, a phase 1 trial will involve a group of healthy volunteers, with the focus being the safety of the candidate drug. These volunteers will be closely monitored as small doses are delivered. Any potential medicines found safe enough will progress to the next phase of trials, where the compound will be tested on patients who have the condition that the medicine is believed to be a treatment for, as well as continued observation of the safety of the medicine. The focus of this stage of trials is the effectiveness of the medicine, once again the patients will be monitored extremely closely.

Following this the successful medicine will move onto trials where it is tested on a much broader range of patients, to ensure it is suitable for general use. Trialling on more people produces more rigorous information on the safety and effectiveness of the medicine.

Clinical Trials in Ireland

The number and size of Clinical Trials conducted in Ireland has increased over the last decade, particularly in recent years. While the number employed in clinical trials is still relatively small, with a few hundred clinical investigators, the work is rewarding, offering a means to assist patients by offering innovative approaches while contributing to the development of life saving products. There is room for growth in the number of clinical trials conducted in Ireland with many similarly sized European countries conducting many more clinical trials each year.

Nature of the Work

At the entry level your work will involve setting up clinical trial sites, note taking, organising the trial and managing documents. As you move into more senior roles you will take on more responsibility, including assigning staff, overseeing ethical and regulatory issues and making decisions about problems faced in the trial process.

Clinical trials require an inquisitive mind, an aptitude for thinking logically, an eye for detail and excellent numeracy. As regulatory and ethical matters are so important it is vital that all staff can work effectively within these requirements. This will require organisation, excellent communication and detailed note-taking.

Occupations in Clinical Trials
(sorted by Job Zone)

Laboratory Assistant

Laboratory assistants help scientists and laboratory technicians in industrial, medical and educational laboratories.

Chemistry Laboratory Technician

Provides technical assistance to chemists by setting up equipment, preparing and carrying out experiments and taking measurements.

Toxicologists employ specialist scientific knowledge and equipment to study the impact of toxic and radioactive materials on biological systems, including the human body and the environment.
Regulatory Affairs Officer

Ensures the appropriate licensing, marketing and legal compliance of pharmaceutical and medical products.

QC (Quality Control / Assurance) Manager

Works to ensure Good Manufacturing Practice requirements are met and that international standards are adhered to.

QC (Quality Control / Assurance) Analyst

Checks and tests materials and finished goods towards ensuring that they meet production standards.

Production & Process Engineer

Develop economical industrial processes that make the huge range of products on which modern society depends, e.g: food and drink; fuel; artificial fibres; pharmaceuticals; chemicals; electronics, plastics; and clean water.


Studies the chemistry of animals and plants and analyses their cells and tissues.

Biological / Microbiological Scientist

Studies, analyses and collects information about both plant and animal life.

Biochemical Engineer

Biochemical engineering is a branch of chemical engineering which applies technological advancements to biological materials.

Medical Scientist

Works in clinical pathology (hospital) and research laboratories performing and interpreting tests for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease.

Studies the effects of chemicals and medicine on both animals and humans.
Molecular Biologist
Researches the interactions between the various systems of a cell, including the interactions between DNA, RNA and protein biosynthesis.
Clinical Trials Scientist

Works distributing drugs and monitoring symptoms, side-effects, and results during clinical trials of new drugs.

Regulatory Affairs Specialist
Regulatory Affairs Manager
Studies the human immune system, and prescribes the appropriate drugs to help it fight infections.

Works in the safe dispensing and use of medicines, including providing advice, information and counselling, mostly in a community or hospital setting.