Research and development (R&D) lies at the heart of the pharmaceutical industry. It invested 34 per cent of its sales in research in 2010, and over a quarter of the entire research expenditure by the UK manufacturing sector is funded or carried out by the pharmaceutical sector.
Of the 67,000 people employed directly by pharmaceutical companies in the UK in 2010, 25,000 work in pharmaceutical research and development, many of them highly skilled scientists. Output per employee is more than £282,000 per year.
For more information on the wide variety of careers in research & development, visit the Research and development section in Working in the industry.
I studied chemistry, physics and maths A-levels and went on to do a 4 year MChem chemistry degree at Leeds University.