If you’re looking to use your PhD in pharmacology as a route into an academic research career, there are a wide range of multi-disciplinary opportunities available.
The scope for pharmacological research reaches across medical and scientific disciplines related to health and patient care, from life sciences to veterinary medicine.
As a pharmacology, toxicology or pharmacy researcher, you may be working in a university, government body, research institute, pharmaceutical company or charitable foundation, such as Cancer Research.
So, what’s it like to work as an academic researcher in these fields? Here we look at the types of research roles available, typical career paths and where to find jobs.
Academic researchers in this area have contributed to many of the life-saving treatments and drugs which help us fight disease, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
Pharmacology researchers collaborate with scientists around the world to improve global health and medical care. Research jobs are available in a range of scientific and medical disciplines and research is highly specific to one element of drug discovery, such as enzymology or assay development.
- Designing and carrying out experiments
- Testing drugs on cells in a laboratory
- Working as part of a team on clinical trials for new drugs and treatments
- Studying the effects of drugs and testing for safety
- Applying for research funding and publishing research outcomes
After completing a PhD in pharmacology (or related medical/science discipline) your next step would be securing a postdoctoral research role within an academic team in your area of expertise.
You would need to apply for promotion and new funding every 3-5 years, and this is based on research quality and outcomes. After gaining experience you could choose to combine your research with teaching duties in a lecturing role or continue a research-oriented path as a senior research fellow or clinical trials manager.
Pharmacology Research Jobs
If you choose to work as an academic pharmacology researcher in a university, here are some of the jobs you may come across during your search:
- Research Assistant
- Postdoctoral researcher
- Research associate/fellow
- Clinical trials manager
- Senior research associate
- Lecturer/senior lecturer in pharmacology
Qualifications and Experience
A Ph.D. in pharmacology-related discipline (or soon-to-be awarded) is essential for higher education research roles. Previous experience working as part of a research team – either as an assistant or postdoc researcher – may also be essential, depending on the role and project.
Salaries for research assistants in pharmacology research start in the range of £24,871 to £27,924.
Higher up the pay scale are postdoc researchers or research fellows, where salaries start in the range of £33,309 to £40,927 and can be higher for experienced and senior researchers or lecturers.
Pharmacology research is funding and project-driven so you will find that most research jobs in universities are offered as a fixed-term contract.
- Academic jobs in pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy
- Lecturing jobs in pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy
- Senior-level academic jobs in pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy