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Analytical chemist: Job description

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Analytical chemists use a diverse range of methods to investigate the chemical nature of substances. The aim of such work is to identify and understand the substance and how it behaves in different conditions.

In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, analytical chemists are involved throughout the drug development process; they study the physical or chemical properties of drug substances and formulations, with a view to determining the quality and stability of drug products.

Analytical chemists may be involved in work as diverse as:

  • drug formulation and development;
  • chemical or forensic analysis;
  • process development;
  • product validation;
  • quality control;
  • toxicology.

Typical work activities

Techniques used or activities carried out may vary depending on the employer or specialist area, but may include:

  • analysing samples from various sources to provide information on compounds or quantities of compounds present;
  • using analytical techniques and instrumentation, such as gas and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ion chromatography, electrochromatography and spectroscopy (infrared and ultraviolet, amongst others);
  • interpreting data and adhering to strict guidelines on documentation when recording data;
  • reporting scientific results;
  • using a range of analytical techniques, instrumentation and software;
  • developing techniques for the analysis of drug products and chemicals;
  • working collaboratively in cross-functional teams;
  • liaising with customers, staff and suppliers;
  • being aware of, and keeping up to date with, health and safety issues;
  • validating methods and equipment.

More senior analysts are likely to be involved in:

There are 9 jobs available in science and pharmaceuticals

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Written by AGCAS editors
March 2014

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