Primary Thematic Units: STEM

Supporting the statutory requirements for the Areas of Learning of the NI Curriculum at Key Stage 2. Read more...

Norn Iron's Ordinary Heroes

A comic celebrating people who have achieved extrordinary success in the areas of STEM. Read more...

STEM in Minecraft

Pupils develop empathy for how people lived in Viking times by overcoming a number of problems encountered through everyday Viking life, in Minecraft! Read more...


Case Studies

Promoting STEM through the NI Curriculum

Making Learning Connections

STEM Innovation

CCEA adopted innovation as a tool that could be used by schools to bring about lasting change in terms of adding value to their STEM provision. Schools were given the opportunity to gain an insight into and discuss innovation in STEM education. Read more...

Assessing UICT through STEM Futures

This case study shows a good example of how careful selection of curriculum material leads to work which satisfies several statutory requirements at once. Read more...

STEM Heroes

Schools across Northern Ireland had the opportunity to celebrate and share STEM Heroes in their local community. This booklet gives a summary of some of the exciting work that was carried out by pupils in both Primary and Post-Primary schools. Read more...


Life and Health Sciences Sector Profile


The life and health sciences sector is one of Northern Ireland's (NI) most important sectors. The sector combines all elements of Science and Technology that contribute to the discovery and development of products for the healthcare and wellbeing of humans and animals. Key fields in the life and health sciences sector include biology, biomedical, pharmacy, audiology and optometry.

Jobs in the sector

The life and health science sector in NI employs around 4,000 people, many of which are high value jobs. Employment levels in the sector have increased rapidly in recent years. Some examples of jobs in the life and health science sector are provided below.

Analytical chemist
Bioinformatics programmer
Bioinformatics analyst
Biomedical engineer
Chemical engineer
Chemical laboratory technician
Chemical process technician
Clean room operative
Clinical chemist
Clinical engineer
Clinical technician
Clinical test developer
Clinical trials assistant
Computational biologists
E-health software developer

E-health engineer
Epidemiologist Ecologist
Field trials officer
Forensic scientist
Instrument technician
Laboratory technician
Medical device designer
Medical device engineer
Medical illustrator
Medical physicist
Medical product tester
Measurement control technician
Nanotechnology researcher

Polymer chemist
Polymer technician
Remote sensor operative
Remote drug delivery operator
Robotics technician
Telehealth developer
Science writer
Sensor designer
Sterile services technician
Validation technician
Micro biologist
Packaging designer
Plant breeder/geneticist
Polymer Chemist
Process development technologist
Quality assurance tester
Savoury flavourists
Soil scientist
Supply chain manager

Who are the employers?

There are over 60 businesses in Northern Ireland who are in the life and health sciences sector. These include medical companies, scientific research companies and laboratories. Examples include:

Randox LaboratoriesHSC Innovations
lmac Diagnostics
Fusion Antibodies
MDS Pharma Services

Warner Chilcott
ST&D Ltd
James Leckey Design
Blue Scope Medical Technologies

Tomcat Systems
Health Tek
Quality Healthcare at Home

Studying in the sector

There are many health and life science related courses available both at further and higher education levels. Some examples are:

Courses available

Biomedical science
Children, families and community health
Chemical engineering
Clinical chemistry
Clinical physiology
Clinical technology
Cosmetic science

Dental technology
Forensic sciences
Health and social care
Health Studies

Plant Science
Speech and Language Therapy

At school

Many of the subjects studied at school can set you on the right path for a career in life and health sciences sector, for example, Science and Technology and Mathematics.

For further and higher education courses visit:

Queens University

University of Ulster

Future of the sector

The future of the life and health sciences sector looks very promising, especially in Northern Ireland as it is globally recognised for its expertise in the sector. Experts in the industry have identified six key future market opportunities in the life and health sciences sector:

  • Stratified medicine
  • Connected Health/Telemedicine
  • Meeting the needs of an ageing population
  • Management of chronic diseases
  • Prevention of disease and ill health
  • Dealing wth new infectious diseases/viruses

Global issues and trends

  • More people getting diseases
  • More new diseases/viruses
  • Resistance of today's antibiotics
  • Globalisation
  • Innovation (incl. technology) and scientific progress
  • Ageing population