Biochemical Engineer

Job Description:

Develop usable, tangible products, using knowledge of biology, chemistry, or engineering.

Job Category:

What you will do:

Your day-to-day will include tasks such as:

  • Develop biocatalytic processes to convert biomass to fuels or fine chemicals, using enzymes of bacteria, yeast, or other microorganisms.
  • Review existing manufacturing processes to identify opportunities for yield improvement or reduced process variation.
  • Participate in equipment or process validation activities.
  • Develop processes or products, such as natural recovery monitoring, in situ capping or treatment, or sediment removal, to treat contamination of subaqueous sediment.
  • Read current scientific or trade literature to stay abreast of scientific, industrial, or technological advances.
  • Modify or control biological systems to replace, augment, or sustain chemical or mechanical processes.
  • Prepare project plans for biochemical equipment or facility improvements, including time lines, budgetary estimates, or capital spending requests.
  • Develop methodologies for transferring procedures or biological processes from laboratories to commercial-scale manufacturing production.
  • Develop experiments to determine production methods that minimize pollution or waste.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • knowledge of biology
  • knowledge of physics
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • design skills and knowledge (creativity)
  • excellent verbal communication skills (leadership skills)
  • strong problem-solving skills &  attention to detail
  • a passion for contributing to advancements in science and technology are essential for success in this dynamic and rewarding field.
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You’ll normally need an Chemical Engineering or Engineering and Technology Degree in chemical, process or biochemical engineering.

If you have a degree in a different branch of engineering, or a related subject like chemistry or polymer science, a postgraduate qualification in chemical or process engineering may increase your chances of finding work.

You could also take an integrated master’s qualification to prepare you for further postgraduate study.

Some universities offer a foundation year for people without qualifications in maths and science.

School Subjects

To become a Biochemical Engineer in the UK, you should focus on GCSE subjects that provide a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Here are the recommended GCSE subjects to pursue:

  1. Mathematics: Mathematics is a core subject for engineering disciplines, including Biochemical Engineering. It is crucial for complex calculations, problem-solving, and data analysis involved in biochemical processes.
  2. Biology: Biology provides essential knowledge of living organisms, cells, genetics, and biochemical pathways, which are fundamental in biochemical engineering.
  3. Chemistry: Chemistry is crucial for understanding the chemical processes, reactions, and materials involved in biological systems.
  4. Physics: Physics offers principles related to mechanics, fluid dynamics, and energy, which can be applied in certain aspects of biochemical engineering.
  5. Design and Technology: This subject can provide insights into engineering design principles, manufacturing techniques, and the use of machinery and equipment.
  6. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Familiarity with digital tools and software is essential for data analysis, modeling, and simulations in biochemical engineering.

Working Hours and Environment:

Most people say the following:

  • Work With Work Group or Team: Extremely important.
  • Work Schedules: Regular (established routine, set schedule).
  • Spend Time Sitting: About half the time.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results: Moderate responsibility.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions: Some freedom.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week: More than 40 hours.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others: Very important.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience and further training, you could become a consultant, specialising in particular biochemical areas, or move into people or project management, teaching or biochemical research.

There are opportunities in both the public and private sector.