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AstraZeneca launches R&D Challenge to accelerate scientific discovery

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AstraZeneca has launched a global Research and Development (R&D) Postdoctoral Challenge to help accelerate ideas to transform the treatment of some of the world’s most complex diseases.

The challenge, launched at EXPO 2020 Dubai, invites final year MD and/or PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from across the world to propose their innovative ideas to help accelerate drug discovery and development across AstraZeneca’s core disease areas.

Successful candidates will be awarded a fully-funded postdoctoral research position and join the vibrant scientific community within AstraZeneca. Working alongside a leading university, the researchers will also receive access to in-house expertise, compounds, novel tools and technologies and mentoring support to develop their ideas and innovate.

Read Also: AstraZeneca marks anniversary of first COVAX vaccine deliveries to Africa

Prof. Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, said: “The events of the past two years clearly show the need to push the boundaries of medical science has never been more urgent. Rapid progress in disease understanding, as well as scientific and technological advances, are genuinely changing our expectations of what is possible. We are delighted to launch the R&D Postdoctoral Challenge to support the next generation of science leaders and help them translate their ideas into meaningful benefits for patients.”

Shortlisted applicants will have the chance to pitch their research ideas to a panel consisting of AstraZeneca and external life science leaders in October, with the selection of finalists decided later in the year. Proposals will be reviewed based on scientific merit, and potential to create a real impact for patients, society and healthcare systems.

Further information on the R&D Postdoctoral Challenge, including entry criteria and details on how to submit innovative research proposals, can be found at: https://openinnovation.astrazeneca.com/rd-postdoctoral-challenge.html.

The R&D Postdoctoral Challenge forms part of AstraZeneca’s Early Talent programmes, nurturing the science leaders of tomorrow and encouraging diversity of thought within an environment that enables science to thrive.

AstraZeneca’s global R&D footprint and productivity

In 2021 AstraZeneca invested $8 billion in R&D, around 21% of the Company’s turnover, to continue to discover and develop medicines that transform the lives of patients.

The Company has three world-class strategic R&D centres including The Discovery Centre (DISC) in Cambridge in the UK, one in Gaithersburg, Maryland in the greater Washington, D.C. region of the US, and another in Gothenburg in Sweden, as well as further hubs across the world. It has integrated R&D teams and accelerated decision-making processes, using its unique scientific capabilities, to deliver one of the most productive pipelines in the industry.

Since 2005, AstraZeneca has achieved an almost six-fold improvement in the proportion of its pipeline molecules that have advanced from preclinical investigation to completion of Phase III clinical trials – from 4% to 23%. This improvement moves AstraZeneca well above the current industry average success rate of 14% in the 2018-2020 timeframe.1
Of the Company’s 80,000 employees, more than 13,000 work exclusively in R&D. In 2021, its scientists published a total of 871 manuscripts, with 196 in high impact peer-review journals (impact factor greater than or equal to 15 according to Reuters five-year rating), compared to one in 2010.

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