R&D Postdoctoral Challenge is a ground-breaking initiative fostering collaboration, innovation and global diversity
AstraZeneca announced today eight winners of the 2023 R&D Postdoctoral Challenge and agreed to fund their postdoctoral positions at one of the Company’s strategic R&D centres in either Cambridge, UK, Gaithersburg or Boston, US or Gothenburg, Sweden.
The R&D Postdoctoral Challenge stands out among traditional industry postdoctoral initiatives which usually offer pre-defined projects. The unique programme from AstraZeneca, now running for a second year, enables early-career scientists from anywhere in the world to submit and potentially pursue their own novel research proposals within the Company. With the support of highly skilled and multidisciplinary research teams, the winners will pursue their unique research projects to ultimately accelerate drug discovery for some of the world’s most complex rare and chronic diseases. By encouraging diverse thinking and global collaboration, AstraZeneca pushes the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines.
After being short-listed from nearly 100 applicants, eight finalists presented their research proposals in a live event at AstraZeneca’s Discovery Centre (DISC) , located in Cambridge, UK. After presenting to a judging panel comprising AstraZeneca and external life science leaders, the winners were selected based on scientific merit and potential to create a real impact for patients.
Dr Jenni Nordborg, Director, International Affairs, Lif said: “I was captivated by the pitches and seeing the novel approaches that each and every one of the finalists presented on stage. But even more than that, I was inspired by their enthusiasm and passion for their focus area of science, and their commitment to research that will improve outcomes for patients.”
Dr Sharon Barr, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, said: “Scientific progress depends on our ability to foster a community that encourages new ideas and fresh perspectives from the next generation of leading scientists. We are thrilled to welcome the eight winners to AstraZeneca; this unique programme demonstrates our commitment to supporting early talent and science led innovation.
Dr Seng Cheng, Senior Vice President, Research and Product Development, Alexion, said: “The winners are all united by their willingness to step away from the norm and pursue a programme that is completely changing the traditional postdoc scheme. They bring the passion and enthusiasm to innovate, as well a collective ambition to accelerate drug discovery.”
With fully funded AstraZeneca postdoctoral research positions, the winners gain access to the Company’s expertise, compounds, novel tools and technologies, as well as mentoring support to turn their innovative ideas into solutions that could benefit patients around the world.
As part of AstraZeneca’s Early Talent programmes, the R&D Postdoctoral Challenge supports the commitment to early career scientists by nurturing talent and providing opportunities to work within a diverse and inclusive environment that enables science to thrive.