There are a number of areas you can work in within the field of Chemical Science. Take a look below at the options available to you. 

The job market for Pharmaceutical & Industrial Chemistry Graduates span two major chemistry sectors the Pharmachem sector, involved in pharmaceuticals manufacture and formulation, and general chemistry sectors that utilise Industrial Chemists as an integral part of there process. Just a few examples of the latter include electronic companies that process silicon chips, adhesives companies, bulk extractives companies such as Aughinish, fertiliser companies, petrochemicals, bulk manufacturers such as CRH, paint formulators and manufacturers

The Pharmachem Industry is just one branch of the chemicals industry that is a major industrial player in Ireland. The manufacture of Pharmaceuticals is one of the chief industrial operations in Ireland and accounts for a very large proportion of the industrial workforce in Ireland. The industry is stable with many of the industries being multi-national offering science graduates opportunities to travel and gain multinational experience within the industry. 16 of the top world pharmaceutical companies have a base in Ireland and contribute some 30,000 jobs to the Irish economy. Exports account for some €35 billion which accounts for about 35% of Ireland's total exports. This is a very important sector for Ireland!

Careers in Pharmachem

The Pharmachem sector employs a large number of science graduates with backgrounds in Pharmaceutical & Industrial Chemistry and Biochemistry. The undergraduate courses at the University of Limerick are strategically placed to allow graduates direct entry into this Industry by having courses geared for the industry and in having co-operative education industrial placement for 9 months during the course where students are placed in a relevant industry, with pay. Hence they can gain experience, show what they can do and get a view of where they would like to work all during their education.

Careers in Pharmachem/Chemistry Industry for Pharmaceutical & Industrial Chemists and Biochemists

Process Development Chemist: To develop and improve the process of making the pharmaceutical, to troubleshoot the process, increase its efficiency of aid in developing new or cleaner production processes.

Quality Control Analyst: To ensure that the pharmaceutical as produces is safe, of high quality and meets international and regulatory standards using a range of state of the art analytical equipment and tests.

Chemical Engineer: Use knowledge of engineering principles to improve production processes, make them safer, more economic or efficient.

Validation Chemist: Ensure that all aspects of a manufacturing process is operating properly and that the process and products meet international standards.

Microbiologist: Carries out specific microbial analysis on pharmaceuticals to ensure safety and product stability upon storage.

Process Biochemist: Ensures that biopharmaceutical products such as insulin, interferon or blood products, (which are proteins) are purified and produced properly.

Health and Safety Officer: Ensures that the workplace in a pharmaceutical operation is safe and healthy for all the workforce.

Environmental Officer: Ensures that the pharmaceutical process is properly licensed and meets the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency and that no pollution emanates from the company.

Stability of Industry

The Chemistry /Pharmachem Industry is very stable this is generally because of investment in the plant which is not easily moved to other locations, Drug manufacturing licencing and processing licences are location, plant and process specific and costly to get hence there is little incentive to move. Location of skilled and well-trained Chemists, Biochemists and production operatives with experience is a major tool in location

See IDA listings for more details on relevant industry.

Examples of types of pharmaceutical companies in Ireland

Allergan: Westport ( Ophthalmic preparations (1000 employees)

Amersham Health: Carrigtohill ( Imaging agents (420 employees)

Bristol Meyers Squibb: Dublin ( pharmaceuticals (600 employees)

Baush and Lomb: Waterford ( Lens chemicals (1900 employees)

Cambrex Profarmco: Cork ( Active ingredients (114 employees)

Eli Lilly: Kinsale ( Prozac antifectives (450 employees)

Fugisawa: Killorglin ( Immunosuppressants (250 employees)

GlaxoSmithKline: Dungarvan ( Cold/flu remedies (400 employees)

Jannsen Pharmaceuticals: LittleIsland ( Psychotic and Intestinal drugs (200 employees)

Leo Laboratories: Crumlin ( Penicillin ( 430 employees)

Merk Sharp and Dohme: Clonmel ( Active ingredients (500 employees)

Pfizers Ireland: Cork ( Drug manufacture (1500 employees)

Roche Ireland: Ennis ( Anti-obesity drugs (300 employees)

Servier: Gorey ( Active ingrediedients (150 employees)

Schwarz Pharma: Shannon ( Finished pharmaceuticals (250 employees)

Takeda: Bray ( Lansoprazole (150 employees)

Yamanouchi: Mulhuddart ( Anti-ulcer medicines (100 employees)

Other Chemistry Sectors

In addition to jobs in the Pharmachem industry, Pharmaceutical & Industrial Chemists gain employment in a large range of other companies that utilise chemical processes. These would include metals recovery such as Aughinish Alumina, Cement manufacture such as CRH, electronics companies that utilise silicone such as Intel, adhesives companies such as Loctite or Electronic companies that utilise electrochemistry.

Examples of other Chemical Companies in Ireland

Aughinish Alumina: Limerick ( Bulk alumina (500 employees)

Analog Devices: Limerick ( Electronic device manufacture (400 employees)

Cement Roadstone Holdings:( ) Cement products (1000 employees)

Intel: Leixlip ( Silicone Chip Manufacture (2000 employees)

Henkel Loctite: Dublin ( ) Adhesives (480 employees)

"Biotechnology will be to the 21th century what computer technology was to the 20th century'"......Bill Gates

The B.Sc. in Industrial Biochemistry is a degree program in biotechnology. It focuses upon the study of living cells (or components of living cells) and the medical/industrial applications of such substances. It is designed to prepare graduates for careers in the biotechnology and related industries. The job market for Industrial Biochemistry Graduates spans several major Irish industrial sectors, the Biotechnology and Biopharmaceuticals sectors, where many of the emerging drugs and medicines are of biological rather than organic chemical origin, the Pharmachem sector, where more biochemical inputs are required such as in microbiological quality control, the Food Manufacturing sector where there is an increased use of biotechnology such as the use of enzymes in processing, use of novel functional ingredients and the need for absolute food safety and the Diagnostics sector which involves the manufacture and development of test kits to diagnose disease or determine levels of residues in drugs, foods or bodily fluids.

Biotechnology is the application of technology to exploit biological resources. Although it seems new biotechnology has been around a long time. Its seen in alcohol production where yeast ferment sugars to produce beer and wine, we see it in the use of fungi to produce antibiotics, we see it is the production of food such as bread, yogurt, soya sauce, pizza. It is used to produce vitamins such as yeast extract. Modern Biotechnology uses modern technology to exploit in much the same way. We are using blood to extract key components such as antibodies for diagnostics, clotting factors to heal clotting disorders and we are utilising genetic engineering to manipulate cells, plants, or microbes to produce Biopharmaceuticals a new class of biological drugs. Such biopharmaceuticals include Insulin a hormone to control blood glucose in Diabetics, Interferon to help kill viruses such as hepatitis, Interleukin, a cytokine, to stimulate T-cell growth in humans to help combat aids. These are all produced in Ireland.

Other key sectors employing Industrial Biochemists

Such sectors include the Diagnostics industry that manufacture test diagnostic kits to detect HIV (such as Trinity Biotech), levels of components such as alcohol, heart enzymes (which leak out with mild heart damage) or glucose in body fluids (Olympus Diagnostics) or detection of BSE in cattle (Enfer). The Food sector is changing its traditional processing and is moving towards functional foods that control cholesterol, have low salt, contain added vitamins are probiotic and contain healthy microbes, are used in weight control or are safer. All these require input from the new biotechnologies.

Examples of Biotechnology Companies in Ireland

Alltech: Bunboyne ( Enzyme and animal biotechnology (150 employees)

Baxter Healthcare: Castlebar ( Health Products (400 employees)

Cook Ireland: Limerick ( Medical Devices (100 employees)

DeRoyale: Meath ( Medical Devices (100 employees)

EirX Therapeutics: Cork ( Apoptosis products (50 employees)

Enfer Laboratories: Cashel. BSE diagnostics (50 employees)

Genzyme Ltd: Waterford ( Renagel (480 employees)

Glanbia: Kilkenny/Waterford ( Ingredients (1000 employees)

Guinness Irl: Dublin/Kilkenny ( Beers (1200 employees)

Kerry Ingredients: Listowel ( Food ingredients (1500 employees)

Loctite Biotech: ( Medical adhesives (200 employees)

GeneMedix: Tullamore ( Hormone production (50 employees)

Olympus Diagnostics Clare( Diagnostic reagents (350 employees)

Novartis Cork ( Biopharmaceuticals (450 employees)

Quest Unileaver Cork ( Bulk enzymes and ingredients (300 employees)

Reagecon Diagnostics Shannon ( Sensors and DNA reagents (50 employees)

Shering Plough Innishannon ( Biopharma (580 employees)

Stryker Biotech, Limerick ( Bone hormones (400 employees)

Trinity Biotech Stillorgan ( Diagnostics (400 employees)

Wyeth Medica Newbridge ( Hormone (1200 employees)

Wyeth Biopharma Clondalkin ( Vaccines (1300 employees)

Yeast Products Finglas - Yeast and extracts (50 employees)

Careers in Biotechnology for Industrial Biochemists

Biotechnologist: Involved in process research and development, manufacture quality control and regulatory affairs

Biochemist: Involved in enzyme analysis, biopharmaceuticals purification, diagnostic development and manufacture.

Genetic Engineer: Manipulation and analysis of DNA for recombinant protein production and diagnostics.

Food Biochemist: Food analysis, quality control, brewing technology or food ingredients analysis

Validation Scientist: Ensuring that regulatory aspects of production are adhered to and that product is safe and meets standards

Microbiologist: Carries out specific microbial analysis on biopharmaceuticals and pharmaceuticals to ensure safety and product stability upon storage.

Process Biochemist: Ensures that biopharmaceutical products such as insulin, interferon or blood products (which are proteins) are purified and produced properly.

Health and Safety Officer: Ensures that the workplace in a pharmaceutical operation is safe and healthy for all the workforce.


There is a strong demand for B.Sc. Environmental Science graduates in industry, state agencies, consultancy companies and local authorities. These environmental professional positions entail, for example, waste management, implementing environmental management systems, developing new and cleaner technologies, monitoring pollutant levels, environmental impact assessment in relation to new developments and management of health & safety in the work environment. There are smaller numbers of jobs available in conservation. The National Development plan will greatly increase the demand for environmental professionals in the coming years.

One specific advantage of the B.Sc. Environmental Science qualification is that the graduate is equipped with the skills and environmental knowledge to gain employment across a range of industrial sectors along with consultancy companies, local authorities and other organisations. The nature of the work will allow for various combinations of indoor and outdoor type opportunity.

Graduate Employment

Environmental Science graduates have gained employment in:

  • Chemical & Biotechnology based industry
  • Energy generation
  • Electronics manufacture
  • Environmental Protection industries
  • Transport Sector
  • Construction / Mining industries
  • Environmental Consultancy companies
  • Local Authorities
  • Environmental Protection Agency

Within these sectors have had titles such as:

  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Officer
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental, Health & Safety Officer
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Licensing Officer
  • Environmental Manager
  • Wildlife Conservationist

Companies & Sectors Employing Environmental Science Graduates


An honours degree qualification in health & safety confers on the graduate a sound understanding of many of the key issues which impact on the safety of individuals in an occupational setting. This broad skillset will enable the graduate to address a range of in-company safety issues covering such key areas as occupational health & hygiene, workplace health and health promotion, chemical safety, environmental management, occupational and organisational psychology, hazard identification and risk assessment, safety management, ergonomics and safety law. For this reason graduates of the programme are eligible to work in a wide range of occupational settings covering all industrial sectors, consultancy companies and the public service organisations such as local authorities, hospitals and third-level institutions.

Your degree can lead to employment in the following positions

Safety Manager
Working for a particular concern such as Chemical, Biotechnology, Electronics, Pharmaceutical industries - safety management of plant and processes, minimizing risk to employees, evaluating the safety, health & well-being of employees

Health & Safety Officer
Working in the Civil Public Service such as a University, Hospital, state department ensuring the health and safety of all employees

Safety Consultant
Working with a consultancy company providing safety services such as training, auditing and risk management.

Industrial Hygienist
Occupational monitoring for particular hazards including exposures to dust, vaopurs, fumes, noise, radiation, thermal stress, biohazards.

Assessing the ease and comfort with which people can work, preventing musculoskeletal and limb disorders

Construction Safety Officer
Management of many occupational health & safety issues across many building sites.

Industries and Public Service organisations hiring health and safety personnel

  • Pharmaceuticals (Pfizer, Genzyme, Schering-Plough, Bristol Myers Squibb)
  • Local Authorities (Limerick County Council, Cork County Council and countrywide)
  • Hospitals (country wide)
  • Chemicals (Aughinish Alumina, Cement Roadstone Holdings)
  • Biotechnology (Astellas, Wyeth Pharma, Wyeth Medica)
  • Electronics/ Medical Devices (Intel, Boston Scientific)
  • Universities/ITs (countrywide)
  • Construction (John Sisk, Siac, PJ Walls, Irishenco)




Process Engineer

Applied Materials


Chemical Engineer

Aughinish Alumina

Askeaton, Co. Limerick

Chemical Engineer


Swords, Dublin

ASU Process engineer

BOC Gases

Little Island, Cork

Process Engineer

Boston Scientific


Chemical Engineer

Bristol Myers Squibb

Swords, Co. Dublin

Chemical engineer

Conoco Phillips


Validation engineer



Quality officer

Elan Pharmaceuticals


Commissioning Engineer

Hanley Controls


Process engineer



Chemical engineer

IDS consulting/Centocor


Process Engineer



Process Engineer



Chemical Engineer

Irish Sugar


Process Engineer

Kellogg Engineering


Process Engineer



Chemical engineer

Merck,Sharp & Dohme


Production Supervisor



Trainee Patent Attorney



Production Support Engineer


Sandwich, Kent

Production Supervisor


Ringaskiddy, Dork

Chemical Engineer

PM Eng. Consulting


Chemical Engineering



Commissioning Engineer



Process Engineer



Process Engineer


Irvine, Scotland

Chemical Engineer

Tara Mines


Chemical Engineering Research PhD



Chemical Engineering



Although the University of Limerick is relatively new many of the Graduates in Industrial Chemistry, Industrial Biochemistry and Environmental Sciences have set up their own businesses based on the science they learned in Limerick and the experience they gained in the workplace. Areas include Colour Ingredients, Agrochemicals, Seed Inoculants, Environmental Recycling, Scientific publishing, Environmental consulting. They are the ones who turn up to reunions in BMW's and Mercedes!