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What does a career in life sciences look like?

Andrew Pieri our consultant managing the role
Posted by Andrew Pieri
Published on 24 June 2017

Life science is one of the major building blocks of our organisation, and has been since we started providing resource solutions to this sector in 2002. This industry is booming at the moment and we have a real demand from employers for skilled and qualified professionals to take up contracts around the world - but what do people in this sector actually do, and what roles are available?

Life sciences defined

Broadly speaking, life sciences are those concerned with the study of living organisms. From a Quanta perspective, we’re largely talking about the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and organisations that are involved in various stages of research, development and commercialisation of drugs and other products. These include upstream and downstream processes, API, secondary pharmaceuticals, biotech processes and formulation fill and finish. Within these industries we recruit for a large range of positions suited to everyone from graduates through to top-level executives. Take a look at some of the most popular roles we see coming through our doors.

Validation Engineers 

There’s significant demand for Validation Engineers both in the UK and internationally currently. These professionals work in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical settings and ensure every element of a system and process is fit for purpose, whether that system involves equipment, facilities or HVAC. To succeed in this role, you need to be methodical, precise and ideally have at least a bachelor’s degree in electrical or mechanical engineering, computer science or a similar subject, plus work experience in a similar role. Validation Engineer contracts are available in exciting destinations such as Belgium and India, so there’s great potential for travel when you establish yourself as a contractor in this position.

Project Scheduler

Project Scheduling comes under the ‘planning’ umbrella of life sciences, with similar positions including Maintenance Scheduler and Project Planner. Effectively these positions involve creating schedules to assist with processes within the pharmaceutical and biopharma industries, often on a contract basis during periods of increased project activity. Sometimes Project Schedulers cover a broad range of business projects, working with key stakeholders to understand a project’s scope before creating, maintaining and supporting schedules. Candidates with technical expertise and stakeholder management skills are ideal for this role, with great communication skills essential.

Process Engineers

Process Engineers typically work with an organisation’s management team and stakeholders to oversee the lifecycle of a project, from its initial design and construction, supplier selection, procurement and installation through to documentation and the product transfer process. People in this role identify opportunities for improvements to be made in processes, ensuring maximum efficiency and reduced risk. They may be involved with project documentation and provide direction to external suppliers to ensure best practice results. To be successful in this position, candidates should have several years’ relevant experience, documentation writing and reviewing skills, knowledge of managing external suppliers and brilliant communication skills. Many of our Process Engineer contracts are located abroad, so language skills can be beneficial in helping jobseekers secure positions.

We have provided skilled engineers and specialists to organisations in more than 20 different countries and are always looking for new candidates to fill life science positions. Take a look at our current vacancies here or get in touch to see how we can help.