Engineering design


Nanotechnologists design and build devices and materials on a tiny scale.

Annual Salary

£13,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 3% more Nanotechnologist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You could be working in:

  • electronics
  • energy production and storage
  • automotive and aerospace industries
  • biotechnology
  • medicine and pharmaceuticals
  • food science and production

Your day-to day duties may include:

  • creating devices and materials on the nanoscale - 0.1 to 100nm in size
  • operating scientific instruments to separate and analyse your products
  • performing experiments to test the nanotechnology you have produced
  • maintaining production and experimental equipment
  • using computers to interpret data
  • preparing learning materials and planning lectures
  • giving lectures to students and leading workshops
  • planning research schedules and overseeing staff in a laboratory
  • writing reports and articles
  • ordering materials, chemicals and stock for your laboratory

You’ll usually need a degree or a master’s qualification in nanotechnology or a related course, and experience of working in a laboratory. Some employers may also expect you to have a PhD. 

Courses related to nanotechnology include:

  • nanoscience
  • maths
  • physics
  • chemistry
  • electronics engineering
  • materials science
  • computer science

Nanowerk has a list of relevant undergraduate and postgraduate courses. It also has a database of nanotechnology companies and research laboratories, which will be useful if you’re applying for work experience. 

£13,000 to £60,000

Starter salary: £13,000 to £14,000 (PhD student)

Experienced salary: £36,000 (university lecturer)

These figures are a guide.


You’ll usually work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You may need to work occasional evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. In industry, you may work on shifts, which can include evening and weekend work.

You’ll work in a laboratory, where you’ll use specialist scientific equipment, like microscopes. 

You’ll be expected to wear protective clothing like a lab coat and safety glasses.

You may work on projects with scientists in other countries, so may need to travel overseas.

With experience you could work your way up to a management role. 

You could also move into a teaching or lecturing role.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • attention to detail
  • practical skills in science 
  • problem-solving skills
  • excellent written and spoken communication skills

IT skills and the ability to work with scientific technology.

My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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