Charles River Laboratories

Charles River Laboratories provides research services for all stages of the drug discovery process. Director of toxicology John Finch tells us about their Scottish operations, work culture and exciting plans for growth.

Charles River Laboratories

Established in the 1940s, Charles River’s Scottish operation can trace its origins back to post-war seaweed research in laboratories at Inveresk village. Since then we’ve branched out into pharmacology and toxicology and through expansion moved to our present location near Tranent. The company became part of Charles River Laboratories in 2004. Today 750 people work across a variety of disciplines in Scotland.

In Scotland we offer services to test the safety of new medicines using non-animal alternatives wherever possible and animals where necessary. Additionally our full package of animal health and agrochemical product development services tests on everything from soil sediments to apples. And our research is backed up by extensive laboratories.

What it’s like to work for us

The majority of our work is team based. We want our people to be the best so we have strong culture of training and development. In addition to training focused on building skills directly related to people’s jobs we also offer training on things like assertiveness and project management.

Staff are also trained thoroughly in regulatory aspects of our work and why we’re doing what we’re doing. Animal welfare is a huge component of our training – in fact there’s probably no other laboratory in the world that pays closer attention to the welfare of animals.

We like to retain our staff and reward hard work so there are ample opportunities for progression and promotion. Many people develop good careers here, as indeed I have – I’ve been with the company for 27 years.

We need skilled people

We hope to create around 50 new jobs in Edinburgh over the next year, though we have the space and the opportunities to significantly grow the Edinburgh site.

Upcoming opportunities include everything from specialised scientists through to animal technicians, pathologists, vets and support staff.

Job security, career development and extensive training are just some of the perks of working for Charles River.

Working and living in Scotland

Scotland punches above its weight in science generally – life sciences in particular. For example, in the veterinary sector Scotland trains around a third of the UK’s vets through large, highly respected veterinary schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

We’ve also got fantastic centres of excellence in Scotland so if we need a consultant or someone who has rare specialise knowledge, there is usually someone in Scotland who can support us. And all of this allows us to continue to thrive as a company.

Scotland offers both good employment opportunities and a great quality of life. Here you can experience one of the biggest cultural centres in the world - Edinburgh, deep countryside close to cities and extraordinary scenery.