This page outlines opportunities for working in medical research, the skills you will need and how to maximise your chances of getting in.
What opportunities are there?
Medical researchers plan and conduct experiments and analyse results, with the aim of increasing scientific knowledge on topics related to medicine. They may also use this knowledge to develop new drugs or medical products.
They can be employed in:
- higher education institutions
- research institutes
- medical research charities
- hospital laboratories
It can be difficult to get permanent academic positions and many researchers in postdoctoral positions are on short-term contracts.
Medical research and development is a long process (particularly drug development) and some researchers never see a successful product go to market. Therefore, you need to be motivated by long-term goals. Other useful skills include:
- numerical and statistical analysis
Medical charities rely heavily on generating funding for research, so experience of writing grant applications can also be valuable in this sector.
A medical degree and some laboratory experience is all that is required for some graduate level research roles. However, audit and research experience (and having research published) or laboratory specialties will open up more opportunities. For more competitive senior positions a PhD will be a requirement.