If you are interested in research jobs in biochemistry, you will find a diverse range of roles, spanning multiple areas and disciplines across biological/life/physical sciences, the health and medical sector and engineering.
Biochemistry research plays a vital role in powering scientific and medical discovery and underpins advances in disease prevention, biotechnology, drug discovery, global food security and tackling climate change. It is a broad discipline focused on studying life on a cellular basis, with a particular focus on cellular processes in disease, protein structure and function and genetics.
Whether you are a biological sciences graduate embarking on a chemistry-related PhD, or an early career researcher looking for your next project, you will find biochemistry research positions available in higher education, research institutes, an almost limitless array of industrial and commercial settings and government/public sector organisations.
In this post, we look at a typical academic career path in biochemistry research, what to expect from the role and the types of jobs available.
Most research jobs require candidates to have completed a first degree and/or Masters and a PhD in an area related to biochemistry. On completion of doctoral studies, your next move would be to complete postdoctoral research with a university, research institute, public organisation or within an industrial research setting.
You will need to look for postdoctoral projects which align with your specialist area of biochemistry. Experience in conducting laboratory experiments within the area of the research group would be essential for any type of biochemistry research position. Research projects and activities tend to be fixed-term contracts, so you will likely complete a few postdoc projects before being considered for promotion to research associate/fellow or lecturer/senior lecturer.
Working as a Biochemistry Researcher
Biochemical research offers a rewarding and challenging career, spanning a vast range of disciplines and settings.
As a biochemistry researcher, you will spend most of your time in a laboratory, setting up experiments, recording results and using highly technical equipment. The scope of biochemistry research is huge, so you will be working with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, technicians and industry partners to research anything from gene therapy to toxicology.
Popular biochemistry research areas include:
- Structural biology
- Synthetic biology
- Computational biology
- Cell biology and genetics
- Systems biology
- Disease biology/Immunology
The day-to-day life of a biochemistry researcher depends on your specialist area and the type of project you are involved in. You could be working in a university, research foundation, the health and medical sector or industry. If you are researching in a university, there will likely be some teaching duties involved.
Most biological sciences research positions involve the following duties:
- Conducting experiments and tests in a laboratory environment using specialist equipment.
- Managing own research and administrative activities.
- Contributing to wider project planning and further research proposals.
- Testing hypotheses using appropriate methodologies.
- Gathering, analysing and presenting scientific data.
- Contributing to scientific reports and journal articles.
- Sharing research findings with project partners and external stakeholders.
Where to find jobs
A research-intensive discipline, biochemistry offers ample career opportunities for doctoral students, postdocs and senior researchers in a variety of settings worldwide. Whether you take a traditional route into a research job in a university or choose to work for a research institution/foundation or private sector company, you will find positions to suit every biochemistry specialism and interest.
Applied biochemical research is well-supported by a network of funding sources, with many projects being joint-funded through industry and higher education partnerships. To find out more about the types of biochemistry research projects currently receiving funding in the UK, visit the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) or the Biochemical Society for information about research grants and bursaries for all career stages.
If you choose to work as a researcher at a university, here are some of the roles you may come across during your search:
- Research Assistant
- Research technician
- Laboratory research scientist
- Postdoctoral research fellow/associate/scientist
- KTP associate
- Senior research fellow/associate
- Lecturer/senior lecturer
Find Research Jobs in Biochemistry here.
Salaries in biological sciences research vary depending on the field and specific research activities of the university. However, as a general rule, postdoctoral researchers and research associates can expect to start on a salary of around £30,000 to £39,999 p.a.
If you are looking to embark on a biochemistry research career, gaining a PhD would be essential. For graduates who want to work in biochemical industries – such as drug discovery, agrochemicals or biotechnology – a PhD can also help fast-track your career progression.
There is a wide range of PhD studentships available in biochemistry, which is considered a priority industry and area of research. A PhD takes around three to five years to complete; most are fully funded and come with a stipend in the range of £15,000 and £17,000 p.a.
Find PhD Studentships related to Biochemistry here.
- Academic jobs in Biochemistry
- Lecturing jobs in Biochemistry
- Senior-level academic jobs in Biochemistry