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Biotechnologist

Biotechnologists use plants, animals, microbes, biochemistry and genetics to develop new products and improve existing ones.

Potential salary

£19,000 to £60,000

Employment by 2024

+2.64%

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

  • knowledge of biology
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work on your own
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to work well with others
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

In environmental biotechnology, your duties may include:

  • developing micro-organisms and plants to clean polluted land or water
  • creating alternative renewable sources of energy, like biodiesel
  • producing environmentally friendly raw materials for industry, like biodegradable plastics from plant starches

In industrial biotechnology, your duties may include:

  • cloning and producing enzymes for use in manufacturing food and drink
  • creating biological detergents and dyes for the textiles industry
  • improving animal feed
  • developing crops that are more resistant to pests
  • genetically modifying crops to increase productivity

In medical biotechnology and biotherapeutics, your duties may include:

  • studying human genetics, proteins, antibodies, viruses, plants, fungi and bacteria to research and treat diseases like cancer
  • developing therapies, vaccines and hormones to treat the cause of a disease
  • producing medicines using techniques like cell culture and genetic modification

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work at a research facility, at a university or in a laboratory.

With experience, you could move into scientific journalism, quality assurance management, sales or marketing.

You can find out more about working in biotechnology from:Science Council; Future Morph; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

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