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Scientific, medical, technical writing

Scientific, medical or technical writers, as the name implies, write scientific, medical or technical texts.
For scientific writers, the main focus is on publishing and compiling research results under scientific standards. There may be many different reasons for such a publication. For example, a research institute may need to acquire new funds for the continuation of a study and draw up application documents for this purpose, but scientific writers are also needed for the transfer of knowledge and for the effective public presentation of the institute's own research work.

Medical writing is a specific form of scientific writing and part of medical research. Before a drug is launched on the market, it goes through a process consisting of many small individual steps. Medical writers are involved in this process. They develop the documents for clinical studies, write the study information for drug approval and prepare the scientific publications for specialist journals. In addition, medical writers prepare specialist and user information and evaluate scientific data. A medical writer therefore poses the question: How can the medical product be presented ideally. A well-defined structure and argumentation is of particular importance for this. As consumers, we are probably the most familiar with patient information leaflets inside the pharmaceutical packaging, which are an example of the work of a medical writer.

In addition, there are also technical writers (also known as technical editors) who, for example, provide users with information on technical equipment (such as operating manuals, installation and assembly instructions) or manuals for PC programs.

Scientific/medical/technical writing is not a regulated profession, which is why there is no defined training path for it. However, several institutions, such as organizations, companies and private universities, offer continuing education courses for a fee. But it is also possible to embark on a career without these additional courses; all that matters is a completed degree and a very good basic understanding of the respective subject area ( for medical writing, in the natural sciences; for technical writing, e.g. in IT, ...). This is because all three types are very factual and knowledge-oriented editorial activities that require appropriate knowledge of the discipline or topic. Anyone who is interested in this field must also have the linguistic ability to present complex issues in a simple way that can be understood by laypersons, and must be able to do justice to the special features of the required types of text (funding applications, instructions for use, patient information leaflets, etc.).

Possible employers include pharmaceutical companies, research institutes and biotech or IT companies. It is also possible to work as a freelancer.

Portrait Bastian Thaa

Bastian Thaa

medical writer for the agency co.medical for medical communication

Typical tasks

Possible places of employment

Sources and further information on the profession