Careers Service

Scientific Research and Development

This is a sector which covers a broad range of fields and jobs for graduates, most requiring at least a related degree, and many needing a higher degree.


Scientific research and development involves the creation of products, processes and commercial applications using cutting-edge, multidisciplinary approaches. A wide range of roles are available in industry, research centres, university departments and in the government. Industries include aerospace, defence, pharmaceuticals, fast moving consumer goods and technology.

What's it like...

Consider whether you are interested in academic research or industry as the application process and entry requirements will differ.

Use these profiles of common roles within this sector to see what each role involves, the required skills, what salary to expect and who the major employers are:


Colour technologist

Food technologist

Marine scientist



Product/process development scientist

Research scientist (life sciences)

Research scientist (maths)

Research scientist (medical)

Research scientist (physical sciences)

Soil scientist

Inform.ed, the Careers Service blog, is an excellent resource to stay up-to-date with career related information as well as exploring insights from current students and alumni. Relevant articles can be accessed using a keyword search such as, “space sector”:

Inform.ed - the Careers Service blog

Platform One is a meeting place, a community place and discussion place. There may be Edinburgh Alumni who can give you useful advice about getting into this type of work:

Platform One - Alumni Services

Work Experience

We have information resources on MyCareerHub which outline ways of finding work experience and internships in industry, plus research and laboratories. These are available in the following areas: Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Geoscience, Physics and Astronomy. Access these via the Resources tab of MyCareerHub by entering “work experience” in the search resources box.


Become a Food and Drink Ambassador with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland and help young people understand how skills and qualifications in the sciences are required for careers in food and drink:

Food and Drink Ambassador with FDF Scotland

The Royal Society of Meteorology (RMetS) does not offer opportunities but they have compiled a handy list of suggested meteorology work experience opportunities:

RMetS - suggested meterology work experience opportunities

Vacancies in Industry/Laboratory Work

MyCareerHub - it’s worth looking at the expired opportunities function to find companies who have advertised vacancies in the past to contact speculatively:


RMetS lists meteorology employers in the public sector and private sector, plus international organisations. Search for opportunities including research posts using the RMetS Jobs Board:

RMetS - suggested employers and Jobs Board

Met-jobs - sign up to receive free regular mailings of job adverts in meteorology, research, forecasting and technical support:


Vacancies as a Research Scientist – an international jobs board for careers in academic, research, science and related professions:

Nature Careers – the job site from the research journal, Nature:

Nature Careers

Try looking for opportunities on individual university vacancy webpages and research institutions.


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