The R&D 100 Awards recognise notable developments to come
out of R&D work and over the years winners have included the ATM in 1973, the fax machine in 1975, the Kodak Photo CD in 1991, the Nicoderm antismoking patch (1992) and anti-cancer drug, Taxol in 1993.
Just what is a career in R&D
Research and development is the profession to get in to if you want to change the world. In facilities across the world teams of scientists and doctors are hard at work looking to develop tomorrow’s technologies, medicines and inventions that will change the way we live, work and play.
Major firms often pump huge percentages of their revenues back into R&D (as it’s commonly known) in an effort to ensure they remain at the cutting edge of development. Most often these areas are pharmaceutical, chemical and biotech industries or aerospace, defence, technology and healthcare. Technology in particular could encompass any number of areas – from working out how to make wind turbines more efficient, cars safer and more fuel-efficient or developing the next computer chips, mobile devices and broadband technologies that will all continue the endless evolution of technology in changing the world as we know it.
In the pharmaceutical and health industries folks are often hard at working trying to develop cures for all manner of major illnesses, or at least remedies to help ease the pain or stop their spreading, to then sell on to health organisations like the NHS that can supply them to their patients. The NHS itself also employs some 50,000 healthcare scientists.
In areas like aerospace and defense the UK has the world’s second largest industry, employing some 12,000 people to work developing new products such as body armour, plane parts or armoured vehicles – all of which generates revenues of a whopping £4bn for the UK economy.
But it goes further than this – all major companies look for ways to improve their products and cut costs, meaning that even the likes of someone seemingly obscure as Heinz are keen to take R&D graduates on board.
For a lot of these roles you’ll most likely need a degree in a relevant science that
qualifies you for work in areas of pharmacy, pathology, life sciences, physiological sciences, engineering and technology and computing. Given the importance of R&D to so many firms positions are regularly available and companies are always looking to recruit the best and brightest of the lot – often paying top dollar to entice them in.
This article was produced in association with Kingston University Careers & Employability Service