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Biotechnology & Health Science: Sector Overview

Biotechnology & Health Science

Sector Overview

What jobs are available and how to get them

Sector Overview

This section describes careers in the life sciences industry, including Pharmaceutical, Medical Biotechnology, Medical Technology, and Industrial Biotechnology. As well as medical testing and other healthcare related science jobs

Healthcare Science can often involve working in laboratories and with patients, and can also involve the maintenence on scientific equipment

The Pharmaceutical Industry hires people with scientific skills to help design, manufacture and supply drugs, and even to help sell them

Biotechnology involves making a micro-organism capable of producing desirable biochemicals not available via chemical synthesis, this can be in the medical field or in other industries

West Sussex Health and Life Sciences Cluster

West Sussex is currently home to over 65 medical technologies and pharmaceutical companies, with a mix of multinationals, SMEs and start-ups.

Facts and Figures


Estimated number of people employed in this sector in the UK

£30 billion

Annual turnover of the UK pharmaceutical sector


Fewer people were employed in this sector in 2012 than 2011

Source: BIS Annual Report 2012


Many scientists work in healthcare, either producing drugs for pharmaceutical companies, or running medical tests

Faces of Biotechnology

Research roles

There are many specialisms in research, as can be seen from the list of training courses available in the NHS scientist training programme


  • Smaller, "virtual" firms are doing more research on behalf of big companies
  • There are a relatively large number of short term contracts
  • Graduate schemes are less common than in other sectors

Non-science jobs

Scientific skills can have applications outside of research and manufacturing.

These jobs involve applying scientific knowledge in non-laboratory settings