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Career Story: Project Chemist, Pfizer

Simon Curran

Job title
Project Chemist
Company
Pfizer
Industry
Chemical Processing
Experience
5 years
Education
  1. Honours Degree in Medicinal Chemistry, Trinity College
  2. PhD in Organic Chemistry, Trinity College
Favourite subjects in school
Chemistry, Mathematics, English
The best thing about my job
My job involves solving very complex problems that when solved, my work is put into place immediately.

If you have a keen interest in science and like to be challenged, this would be a very good career for you.

Solving Rubiks cubes is a great way to get experience for this type of career. 

My main tasks

The designing, developing and improvement of the chemical processes currently used on plant to increase efficiency and lower cost. 

What I like

My job involves solving complex problems. However, it is the manner in which the problems are approached which is most appealing: asking probing questions of the process and getting specific answers to those questions.

Challenges

Routine maintenance of equipment is a necessary part of my job. If the equipment isn’t reliable, neither are the results.

Work / life balance

Though the job can be high pressure at times, there is always leisure time.

Who influenced me

In school, I always had great science teachers, the best of which was my chemistry teacher.

Most useful aspects of my education

My degree was a requirement for the position (though not specifically Medicinal Chemistry, another chemistry degree would be ok). Having a PhD gave me more of an edge when applying for the position as an increasing number of people have postgraduate diplomas nowadays.

Useful work experience

Work experience in a Quality Control laboratory will give a flavour for the lab work but not the critical thinking of process development. For me, the best experience of that was completing my PhD in organic chemistry. Failing that, solving Rubiks cubes!