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UAE: AstraZeneca launches global challenge to create science leaders – ZAWYA

A top global biopharmaceutical company on Thursday launched a global R&D Postdoctoral Challenge, aspiring to receive applications from the UAE, as they reinforced, the country can help accelerate drug discovery and bolster research in the business’ core disease areas.
The challenge launched by AstraZeneca at Expo 2020 Dubai, invites final year MD and/or PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from the UAE and across the world to propose their innovative ideas to help expedite drug innovation and create science leaders.
Prof. Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, said, “What we're trying to do here is reach out to that early scientific community, MD, PhD students who are early on in their careers and asking them to come up with ideas that excite them that they think have the opportunity to transform a disease that we're interested in treating. It would be lovely to get some applications from the UAE, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. That would be a wonderful thing for us to see and we will look at those applications very favourably.”
Mene reiterated that through this challenge they are trying to “establish a new technology that could be transformational and help us turn science into medicine. For this, we’re trying to work with different academic community.”
Successful candidates will be awarded a fully funded postdoctoral research position and join the 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.
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 real impact for patients, society, and healthcare systems.
Mene further said, “We’ve realised that we can't do things on our own, we need to be able to access the world's brainpower. And we also need to be a great collaborator and share ideas, share our data and, together we've become much more powerful in terms of being able to turn those scientific ideas as I said, into medicine, which ultimately is our aim. And this challenge is all about that. It's about bringing academic innovation to our company, opening our eyes to new ideas and new challenges, and hopefully stimulating people early in their career to also experience what it's like working in the pharmaceutical company.”
“Towards the end of the year, we will actually pick up final winners, and then those postdocs will be fully funded in the work in our academic laboratories,” he added.
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.
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