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Unlock a career in Life Sciences...


ou don’t have to do the traditional route of University, then PhD to have a career in science. It always seems like the kind of job you’d have to spend years and years qualifying and training for. Well, this is not always the case. Young people, some not too long out of school are working in science right now and you could be too.


Science is part of our every day life and Life Sciences are particularly important, with stories on the news nearly every week telling us about recent developments, new treatments for diseases and even that scientists have created human organs from a single human cell! These are exciting developments which may impact upon the future health of your generation and you could be involved in making that happen. Science requires individuals with many skills and interests - and not all scientists work in a laboratory. As the profiles in this brochure show, everyone has a different job and their qualifications, training and experiences are varied. With Life Sciences, you are already at an advantage when it comes to job searching, as Scotland is regarded as one of the most successful countries in the world. The Scottish Government have made Life Sciences a Key priority Industry, which means that they see it as a means of us expanding our economy in the fututre. The industry has roles in sales, business development, research, clinical trials and many more.

Life Science Employers were asked which skill areas and job titles they expected to recruit for over the next 2/3 years to in order to meet their business objectives. Some 1,440 posts were recorded, including 1,136 science/technical posts and 304 business/commercial posts. Scottish Life Sciences Employer Skills Survey March 2010

This guide has been developed to help everyone to see the many different ways to become involved in this exciting industry and the huge variety of jobs available. The Scottish Stem Cell Network, supported by the European Social Fund, is working to encourage young people to take up these careers. We provide materials and support for young people, schools, colleges and companies to help make sure that everyone who wants to get involved can see the opportunities that exist. We hope you find this interesting and wish you every success in the future.s ige

Qualifications 6 GCSE’s

Emma Clarke Roslin Cells My Job I am currently doing a modern apprenticeship; this involves day release at Forth Valley College in Falkirk one day a week working towards gaining an HNC in Life Sciences. The remainder of the week I am a Trainee Quality Control Assistant at Roslin Cells undertaking a work based Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Laboratory Science. Roslin Cells is a world leader in stem cell derivation working to Good Manufacturing Practise.

What exactly do I do? I am mainly involved in performing the Environmental Monitoring of the clean rooms. This involves daily and monthly monitoring and microbial analysis of the results and allows the integrity of the facility used for stem cell derivation to be closely monitored and maintained. I also assist in the Quality Control testing of the stem cell lines which involves a variety of different biological techniques. My job also involves a lot of paperwork which includes following the appropriate SOP’s and standard forms and creating/updating SOP’s and standard forms as required. As a Quality Control department we are constantly trying to improve our methods where necessary.

The future of my role? To complete my HNC and also my SVQ, then to progress within Roslin Cells.

What qualifications should you aim for? To become an apprentice you will need to gain a higher in maths and a science subject.


Life Sciences Modern Apprentice

GNVQ in Information Communication Technology

Qualifications Higher in Biology HNC in Biology

Laboratory Manager

Judith Fletcher University of Edinburgh My Job I am responsible for a group that makes iPS cells for other researcher in the Centre for Regenerative Medicine, these cells are used for disease modelling.

What exactly do I do? My main job is to culture all types of cells from fibroblasts to iPS cells* and Embryonic stem cells. I have to validate the cells we produce in order to prove that the cells we have manufactured come from the patient of origin and are truly pluripotent cells. I manage a group of two people.

The future of my role? To be able to directly produce adult stem cells. To collaborate with a group such as Roslin Cells to produce cells for therapy.

What qualifications should you aim for? Today most people in my field are university graduates, however I believe a good route will be the new modern apprenticeship in life sciences.

*iPS cells are Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. These are special cells which are taken from an adult cell and reprogrammed to behave like an embryonic stem cell. They are generating a lot of excitement in the scientific field.


Bachelor of Science in Chemistry On the job training.

Emma Kemp EuroStemCell My Job The orgnisation I work for is a partnership of scientists, clinicians, ethicists, social scientists and science communicators from several different countries. Part of my job is making sure all these different people communicate and work together well so we can achieve our goals. The rest of my work is focussed on finding out the latest news in stem cell research and explaining it to members of the public.

What exactly do I do? My work is pretty varied. Some days I am in the office writing a news story for our website or working on a new factsheet. Other days I might be out visiting a school, running a workshop for scientists or attending a conference to find out about the latest developments in research. I also have meetings with colleagues to discuss our next plans for the project and write reports for our funder.

The future of my role? I work for a project that was originally designed by my boss, who is the overall manager of our work. Within the University, the next step would be to apply for funding for a project of my own, doing something that I lead myself. But there are other options too – such as going to work for a charity or company with people doing this kind of work.

What qualifications should you aim for? A degree in one of the sciences is usually important and it’s also very useful to gain relevant work experience to develop the skills you need. For example, good presentation and writing skills are essential. 5

Information and Communications Manager


Qualifications Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences

Director of Operations

Angela Scott Angel Biotechnology My Job I am responsible for the development and manufacture of stem cell therapies to treat a variety of indications such as stoke, and knee injuries; this includes running a manufacturing facility.

What exactly do I do? I very seldom work in the lab however my day to day activities can vary greatly. The company has a number of clients with bespoke development and manufacturing requirements so I translate state of the art processes so that they are suitable for manufacture. Keeping up to date with relevant technologies is essential. I spend a great deal of time preparing and reviewing documentation such as price illustrations, plans and reports and perform audits to support our quality department. My role also involves an engineering function to ensure that the manufacturing g facility is maintained to appropriate regulatory standards. I often present at scientific conferences and sit on manufacturing and stem cell advisory committees.

The future of my role? To drive the growth and success of the company, so that it becomes a global lead in translating cell therapies to the market.

What qualifications should you aim for? A scientific degree/experience in cell culture techniques is essential to understand client processes so that programmes are delivered without issue. It is also important to have a business/commercial mind as we are a contract service provider.


Masters in Immunology CBiol, MIBiol FCQI FIBMS

Bruce Vernon Vyvo Biotechnology My Job I help and advise a variety of companies in the manufacturing of biopharmacueticals; anything from new vaccines and medicinal products to cutting edge stem cell applications. I’m able to help companies at any stage in their development of new drugs, from research and development, through to launching the product onto the market for safe consumption.

What exactly do I do? My days vary quite a bit but a typical week will see me spending some time travelling to visit different client sites, mainly in Scotland but sometimes trips abroad. I also spend time writing up reports, reviewing documents and sorting out client needs! I am also a QP (Qualified Person) which means I can release batches of drugs/medical products when I think they “pass” in terms of quality and safety.

The future of my role? I plan to further develop interest in novel advanced medicinal products including stem cell therapies and other regenerative medicines

What qualifications should you aim for? My qualifications are a mixture of degree level in the sciences (MSc Immunology) and specific on the job training and quality related qualifications and these are what should be aimed for if you want to take on a similar role.


Biopharmaceutical Business Consultant


Qualifications Degree in Media Studies Post-graduate diploma in Newspaper Journalism

Health Correspondent

Lyndsay Buckland The Scotsman My Job As health correspondent I am expected to keep on top of developments in the field of health and science. This involves finding stories from medical journals, Universities, doctors, health bodies and other organisations. On a daily basis I have to come up with story ideas and write them up for the next day’s paper.

What exactly do I do? I research and write stories on health and science as well as going to press conferences and interview people on the phone. My job involves analysing statistics and scientific papers and also speaking to patients for case studies to help illustrate stories. I gather information for newspaper graphics to help explain stories.

The future of my role? Hopefully continue to write stories on health issues, though increasingly this may be focussed on content to go on the internet alongside the newspaper.

What qualifications should you aim for? Most newspapers will require someone to have a post-graduate qualification in journalism. These courses equip you with skills such as short-hand and law which is important. Degrees such as English and history are useful before going on to a post-graduate course. Most employers will look for substantial work experience ahead of giving someone a job.


Qualifications Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Microbiology PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology

University of Edinburgh My Job My job is to lead a group of researchers and develop new studies for the lab to gain more knowledge about human biology and new scientific advances to benefit human health. We are focussed on the human liver and are trying to help other scientists make safer and more specific medicines.

What exactly do I do? Every week I have regular meetings with my team members as well as performing experiments in the lab and analysing results. As a group leader, I have to write applications for grants which fund the research in my group. A big part of being a scientist is having your work published. I write papers and review the work of others. Recently I have started a new company based on the work in our lab and now have a business to run too.

The future of my role? My future role is to expand my group of researchers and broadening our knowledge about human liver biology. Moreover, I am committed to developing state of the art scientific technologies which are beneficial to human health, including bio-artificial liver devices.

What qualifications should you aim for? At school you could study Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Your degree at University should be in Biochemistry, Cell Biology or Chemistry and a PhD should focus on Biochemistry and/or Cell Biology.


Principle Investigator

David Hay


Scientific Communications Officer

Masters in Biology Post graduate in international teaching

Ingrid Heersche MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine

My Job I maintain all aspects of media and public relations. This includes queries from journalists, production of PR materials, maintaining the Centre’s website and developing interactive educational materials about stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

What exactly do I do? My job varies from day to day. If we have news to tell or if there is something really important about stem cells & regenerative medicine in the news, I spend all day talking to journalists, writing a press release and arranging interviews. Other days are quieter and allow me to plan ahead for our public engagement events, respond to patient enquiries, or update and develop our website and intranet. I regularly have meetings with colleagues where we discuss our future plans.

The future of my role? The Centre aims to continue to grow and become one of the best regenerative medicine centres in the world. It is important that our communication strategy reflects this ambition.

What qualifications should you aim for? Academicly you should aim for Biology (BSc, MSc or Post Doc level), science communication (MSc) or post graduate teaching qualification. On top of your qualifications, corporate communication knowledge is desirable but not essential.


Qualifications 2 Highers

Jonathan Selfridge Ingenza My Job I attend to general lab maintenance and technician duties and also help in research and development of projects.

What exactly do I do? There is no such thing as an ordinary day, but typical routine tasks include calibration of equipment, preparing stock solutions, replenishing consumables and autoclaving waste material. In addition to this I assist the scientists with experiments at our state of the art laboratories. As part of my apprenticeship I attend college 1-day per week to learn the theory behind many of the practical skills that I perform at work.

The future of my role? Having mastered the basics I would like to build on this knowledge to perform more demanding tasks that are at the forefront of the work at Ingenza.

What qualifications should you aim for? A minimum of one higher or the equivalent, at grade C or above, preferably in a scientific subject. You must also have at least three standard grades at level 1, 2 or 3 in Maths, English and a scientific subject.


Life Sciences Modern Apprentice

7 Standard Grades (credit level)


Business Development Manager

In role training and development courses

Andrew Carver Angel Biotechnology My Job My role is to grow the company’s profit. I do this by attracting new clients, identifying new opportunities for existing clients and new markets. I gather intelligence on customers and competitors, generate leads for possible sales, follow-up sales activity, write formal proposals, and design financial and business models.

What exactly do I do? I research new and existing business opportunities, identify, and then contact organisations that need the services the company offers. I attend conferences and exhibitions in the UK and abroad to raise awareness of Angel Biotechnology and as a way to meet new companies. I use targeted advertising to promote our technologies and services to a wide audience

The future of my role? Business development managers progress into senior management or commercial roles. The skill set applies across many industries and it is not uncommon to move from one industry to a different industry sector.

What qualifications should you aim for? You should have sales experience, be organised and be aware of market developments and economic trends. A degree in a subject aligned to the area of work may prove useful but is not a necessity for the position although you will need an understanding of sales, good I.T. report writing and communication skills.


HNC in Marketing Bachelor of Arts in Marketing Management

Sarah Graham Ingenza My Job I am responsible for all PR activities at Ingenza as well as managing our busy office. I promote our company through press releases and high profile visits and aim to make the public aware of Ingenza and what we do. I manage all non-lab related business in our office and keep every day as organised as possible!

What exactly do I do? I liaise with the Financial Director to help ensure budgets are managed effectively, invoices are in place and that all timings in regards to projects are accurate. It is also my responsibility to manage our internal calendar. As Public Relations Manager it is my job to present the company to the public through press releases and announcements as well as marketing literature such as flyers and brochures. If we have a new story I will spend time contacting local press and the Scottish Science Community this involves speaking to journalists who often visit us to photograph our scientists at work.

The future of my role? I enjoy my job at Ingenza and as our company grows so will my role. PR will become a bigger part of Ingenza so I will have more exciting news to tell!

What qualifications should you aim for? Academic: Marketing or Public Relations qualification (BA or MA) would be essential. Additional business or communication knowledge would be beneficial. A science qualification is not necessary but a passion to learn about a new subject is! 13

Office and Public Relations Manager


Qualifications Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences

Operations Manager

Janet Downie Roslin Cells My Job I oversee the day to day running of the company’s internal operations. This includes isolating stem cells for use in cell therapies and making sure that therapies meet Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements (for use in the clinic).

What exactly do I do? On a daily basis my main focus is on our Production, Quality Control and Quality Assurance departments to ensure we work to a world class standard. I am also involved with influencing our scientific strategy, reviewing scientific reports and problem solving. It is essential to keep up to date with the regulations covering cell therapies. As a member of the British Research Quality Assurance GMP committee I get an opportunity to influence regulations and guidelines that are implemented within the EU and the UK. I am also overseing the design, build and validation of our new GMP manufacturing facility.

The future of my role? I see my role expanding in two key areas; developing our operation to cover a wider range of cell types for use in clinical therapies and progressing these to clinical trial and, promoting our capabilities in cell therapy manufacture to the life science community.

What qualifications should you aim for? A Life Science degree and practical experience of in working within a commercial GMP environment relevant to cell therapies. You should also have experience in Management and Customer Service. 14

Qualifications Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry PhD in Molecular Biology

AvantiCell My Job I run a small science company which means I have to be able to do parts of many different roles, from being a scientist to an accountant and dealing with business development.

What exactly do I do? Although I do not work in the lab these days, I try to keep up to date with advances in the science because this helps me to put together the business strategy. The company has a number of projects going on around the world with partners so a significant proportion of my time is spent preparing strategy documents and putting together the financial documents that need to run along side these. It could be argued that I don’t need to be scientifically qualified in order to do this, but a good knowledge of the science and technology helps me to maintain focus.

The future of my role? To drive the growth and success of the company, so that it becomes a leading provider of services and products to a variety of sectors including those making use of stem cells.

What qualifications should you aim for? Although my role is essentially a managerial one, knowledge of and credibility in the scientific arena is essential. Likewise it is important to have a good understanding of what is involved with running a business and the commercial skills to deliver what the market needs. It is difficult to develop the right skill set via anything other than experience.


Chief Executive Officer

Joanna Oliver

If you found the information in this brochure interesting, there are other resources you can check out: Skills Development Scotland

Careers Scotland

Brochure produced by: SSCN Ltd Wallace Building, Roslin BioCentre, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9PP

Image accreditations: Page 3 Page 4 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 14

Roslin Cells Kunath lab, University of Edinburgh Mountford lab, University of Glasgow Hay lab, University of Edinburgh Davies Lab, University of Edinburgh Roslin Cells

SSCN website

Talent Scotland

Skills Development Scotland

Career Profiles in Life Sciences  

A brochure being used in Scottish secondary schools to promote the various routes young adults can take into science careers.

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