Material Science Jobs & Careers

Materials science is a multidisciplinary field that explores the properties, structure, processing, and performance of materials. It involves understanding the relationships between the composition, structure, and properties of materials, as well as how they are processed and used in various applications. The goal of the field is to develop and design new materials with specific properties to meet the needs of different industries and technologies.

Why consider a career within Material Science?

The field of Material Science is growing extensive due to an increase in the start-ups forming within the space. These start-ups typically focus on biomaterials and biopolymers which are materials/polymers derived from natural sources and can be applied to  the medical, packaging, cosmetic, textile and construction industries. The industry of creating bio-based alternatives to plastic is in huge succession at the moment as  the world is looking to be more sustainable, reduce waste and creating more ecofriendly alternatives. 

Other applications of Material Science include metals and ceramics which are
focused on developing new materials with specific properties and applications. These materials are not naturally derived but used as they are unable to withstand  high strength, high temperatures and electrical conductivity.

What exactly does a career or job in Material Science entail?

A career in material science is very diverse and can lead to lots of different paths. This could be within R&D, engineering, quality control, production, technology transfer, scale-up and manufacturing. The increase in start-ups using waste streams to create innovative materials also allows for synthetic biologists, genetic engineers and chemists to play a large part in this previously heavily engineering dominated field.  

What are typical Material Science job titles?

  • Material scientists who are involved in material formulation and testing of the materials during R&D and optimisation. This could also be called a Polymer Scientist if they are working with polymers and a Metallurgist if they are working with metals or alloys.
  • Process Engineers are involved in optimising the manufacturing process for materials. They work alongside the material scientists to enhance quality of the materials.
  • Design/Mechanical Engineers are involved in computer modelling and simulation tools to design and predict the new materials before they go through production.
  • Automation Engineer is involved in the design and development of complex robotic systems or software applications that help to automate specific functions within material development.
  • Production Engineers are involved in helping transfer the materials from R&D into full scale manufacturing and commercialisation.
  • Chemists/Biologists are involved in the R&D work in helping understand the conversion of waste streams or novel polymers/composites into novel materials.
  • Other roles within this field can also include, Operations Managers, Project Managers, Laboratory Managers, IP Managers, LCA Analysts, Business Development Managers and Transformation Managers.  

Material Science Career progression

Entry level Material Scientist positions with a bachelor’s or master’s degree can expect up to £28,000 whilst PhD graduates can expect up to £37,000 (depends on location and area of focus).

Material Scientist roles for those who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree with 1-2 years industry experience can expect up to £32,000, whilst 3-4 years in industry up to £40,000. For PhD graduates those with a postdoc can expect up to £42,000 whilst those with 1-2 industry experience can expect up to £45,000 whilst 3-4 years up to £50,000.

Senior Material Scientist roles with those with extensive industry would be looking for £50,000 – £60,000 but if responsible for being a team leader they can be looking more for £60,000 – £70,000.

Head of/Director level roles are those who will be involved in leading departments, managing budgets, or making strategic decisions can earn salaries from £70,000 – £100,000+.

Is it right for me? The skills it takes…

You will need to have all or most of the following skills: 

  • Material testing  
  • Material formulation 
  • Material Characterisation 
  • Material development either at R&D level or scale-up 
  • Working with industry standards 

What qualifications do you need for a career in Paid Media?

You will need to have a BSc, MSc or PhD qualification in Material Science, Material Engineering, Chemical Engineering or Applied Chemistry with a large focus on developing, characterising and testing materials.

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Our latest Science jobs

We connect ambitious organisations with their greatest assets, equally ambitious talent.

IP Manager

Purpose Driven

  • London
  • Permanent
  • Up to £50,000

Full details

Key role in a growing start-up.

Great role for an IP/Patent expert to join a growing Material company.

Innovative well-funded scale-up.

Full details

21st Feb

Laboratory Technician

Purpose Driven

  • Cambridge
  • Permanent
  • Up to £30,000

Full details

Cambridge based.

Innovative well-funded start up.

Natural Polymeric materials using food ingredients.

Full details

29th Jan

R&D Lead

  • Bristol
  • Permanent
  • Up to £70,000

Full details

Key role in a growing start-up.

R&D Leader.

Team Management experience required.

Full details

18th Jan

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Salary guides:

  • -
    Material Science Salary Guide

    Here are the average Material Science salaries in the UK.

  • -
    BioScience Perm Salary Guide

    A snapshot of salary bandings across different seniority levels within BioScience.

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