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4 things you need to know about a life sciences career

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Thinking about pursuing a career in the life sciences? These insights from people and organisations in the industry might help.

Click here to view the full Life Sciences Week series.

We spent the week taking a closer look at many aspects of a life sciences career, from the companies that are hiring across Ireland to the reasons people became passionate about their fields.

1. There will be exciting opportunities after Covid

Its no secret that Covid-19 has pushed life sciences further into the spotlight than ever before. But even after the pandemic passes, opportunities are sure to abound, according to Hays’ Chris Smith.

To help you make the most of them in your life sciences career, he shared five tips. He recommended seeking out innovation, upskilling and preparing to present in remote interviews.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

2. There are lots of jobs

There are also lots of job opportunities in life sciences right now. We covered 16 of the companies that are actively hiring.

It includes positions in Dublin, Limerick, Mayo, Sligo and many other locations across the country, with industries ranging from biotech to biologics.

Check it out here to learn more about jobs at Abbvie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, MSD and more.

Not included on the list is contract research company PPD, which announced its plans to expand in Athlone. It will be hiring for 180 highly skilled scientists in the region as a result.

3. It can be a rewarding career path

We spoke to two people working in life sciences about their passion for their work. Dr Jackie Dolan, a geneticist working at Genuity Science, became interested in the world of genomics after her sister was born with a rare neurological disease. She told us that ‘the potential to make a difference in people’s lives is immense’ in her role.

For Kate Madigan, a senior equipment engineer at Amgen, solving problems and building solutions have been her passions from a young age. She knew early on that she wanted to be an engineer, and says that getting to apply her skills to the biopharma industry is “very rewarding”.

4. You can apply diverse skills to a life sciences career

Life sciences careers are hugely diverse. This week, we heard from people working in genomics and equipment engineering, but also in life sciences consulting.

Accenture’s Elaine O’Dwyer is a data scientist who works in the company’s applied intelligence practice, giving her a front-row seat to the trends taking the industry by storm. Like Madigan, she gets great satisfaction from the variety of projects she helps deliver.

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2021 iPhone photography awards – in pictures | Technology

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The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms.

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With Alphabet’s legendary commitment to products, we can’t wait to see what its robotics biz Intrinsic achieves • The Register

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Alphabet today launched its latest tech startup, Intrinsic, which aims to build commercial software that will power industrial robots.

Intrinsic will focus on developing software control tools for industrial robots used in manufacturing, we’re told. Its pitch is that the days of humans having to manually program and adjust a robot’s every move are over, and that mechanical bots should be more autonomous and smart, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and leaps in training techniques.

This could make robots easier to direct – give them a task, and they’ll figure out the specifics – and more efficient – the AI can work out the best way to achieve its goal.

“Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications,” said CEO Wendy Tan White.

“Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.”

Tan White – a British entrepreneur and investor who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2016 for her services to the tech industry – will leave her role as vice president of X, Alphabet’s moonshot R&D lab, to concentrate on Intrinsic.

She earlier co-founded and was CEO of website-building biz Moonfruit, and helped multiple early-stage companies get up and running as a general partner at Entrepreneur First, a tech accelerator. She is also a board trustee of the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, and member of Blighty’s Digital Economic Council.

“I loved the role I played in creating platforms that inspired the imagination and entrepreneurship of people all over the world, and I’ve recently stepped into a similar opportunity: I’m delighted to share that I’m now leading Intrinsic, a new Alphabet company,” she said.

The new outfit is another venture to emerge from Google-parent Alphabet’s X labs, along with Waymo, the self-driving car startup; and Verily, a biotech biz. ®

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Charles River to create 90 new jobs at Ballina biologics site

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Charles River is expanding its testing capabilities in Ballina as part of its partnership with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca.

Contract research organisation Charles River Laboratories is planning an €8m site expansion in Ballina to facilitate batch release testing for Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca.

The expansion at the Mayo site will create an additional 1,500 sq m of lab space and 90 highly skilled jobs in the area over the next three years.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

The company provides longstanding partners AstraZeneca with outsourced regulated safety and development support on a range of treatments and vaccines, including testing and facilitating the deployment of Vaxzevria for Covid-19 and Fluenz for seasonal infleunza.

The latest investment follows earlier expansions at the Ballina site and Charles River recently announced plans to establish a dedicated laboratory space to handle testing of SARS-CoV-2 and other similar pathogens that cause human disease.

“We are incredibly proud of the transformational changes we have implemented on site and the role that Charles River has played in supporting the safe and timely roll-out of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine,” said Liam McHale, site director for Charles River Ballina.

“Throughout the pandemic, our site remained fully operational while keeping our employees safe and having a positive impact on human health. Our expanded facility will provide us with the increased capacity needed to continue the essential services we provide to our clients.”

Charles River acquired the Ballina facility, which focuses on biologics testing, in 2002. The company employs 230 people at its two facilities in Ireland, including the Mayo site and a site in Dublin, established in 2017, which serves as the EMEA and APAC headquarters for the company’s microbial solutions division.

IDA Ireland is supporting the expansion. Mary Buckley, executive director of the agency, said Charles River is an “employer of long standing” in Co Mayo.

“The enhancement of its product lines and the development of additional capability at the Ballina facility is most welcome,” she added. “Today’s announcement is strongly aligned to IDA Ireland’s regional pillar and its continued commitment to winning jobs and investment in regional locations.”

Dan Wygal, country president for AstraZeneca Ireland, added: “Our Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, undergoes extremely robust safety and quality testing prior to becoming available for patients. We are committed to bringing safe, effective vaccines to Ireland and other markets as quickly as possible, and Charles River will continue to be an important partner in this regard.”

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