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Research & Development Jobs

Research & Development happens across most industry sectors, and is the concept of turning an idea in to product. It is commonly referred to also as R&D. R&D can be broken down in to research which is where the science is discovered and development where the science is then turned in to a product.

In relation to the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, CMO / CRO, Clinical and Science industries, research & development can be categorised as drug discovery and drug development. When it comes to the FMCG/Food, Medical Device and Engineering sectors, R&D is focused on the design and development of consumer products and processes.

Regardless of what type of product a company is working with, there are many steps involved post R&D which include the large-scale commercial manufacturing as well as sales & marketing.

Jobs in the Research & Development Industry



Key skills within research & development (R&D) include:

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
Drug Discovery can be done in many ways and will be largely dependent upon the application of the final drug for therapeutics purposes. It can include the discovery and design of small and large molecules which can be to support the release of new tablets, capsules and biopharmaceuticals for therapeutic purposes. Drug discovery in modern Biotechnology takes a focus on manipulating the metabolic pathway(s) related to the relevant disease/pathogen. Traditional drugs have been discovered by isolating key active ingredients from existing drugs or potentially by a chance discovery.

Drug Development takes the science from drug discovery and turns this in to the suitable, ethical and safe medication. Within this stage it is essential that development experts can establish the correct formulation, dosage form and ensure that it safely passes all forms of pre-clinical testing and clinical trials. Due to the impact of drugs to human safety this stage of R&D can take many years to do successfully and the cost to do so is great. This is why drug development is primarily done by large pharmaceutical, biotechnology companies or a specific part by small or dedicated CMO / CROs.

Research & Development Jobs FAQs

What is the role of research and development?

The role of a company’s research and development (R&D) department is to turn ideas into marketable products. The precise nature of this work varies depending on the industry – for example, a pharmaceutical company’s R&D department may focus on drug discovery and development, whereas in other sectors they may be tasked with the design of new products and processes.

What does a research and development manager do?

In addition to managing the other workers who make up the R&D department, a research and development manager’s responsibilities may include:
  • Overseeing development of new products
  • Planning and implementing new processes throughout an organisation
  • Ensuring that the organisation stays up to date with the latest R&D breakthroughs
Of course, the exact duties of a research and development manager vary enormously between different industries and niches.

What is the difference between R&D and product development?

Research and development may be thought of as the first step in the longer product development process. Whereas R&D is primarily about conceiving new product ideas and getting them on the path to production, the term ‘product development’ tends to refer to the entire process, from the initial idea all the way through to quality control and marketing.



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