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Product Owner/Project Lead

Location Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States Job ID R-078237 Date posted 03/30/2020

Location: Gaithersburg, US

Salary: Competitive salary and company benefits apply

Would you like to be a part of a Data Science & Artificial Intelligence (DS&AI) group who has direct strategic impact on drug development, playing a key role in getting medicines to patients?

At AstraZeneca, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines to patients, with a real passion for discovery and a pipeline to show for it. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives every single day.

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) in pharma is building enormous momentum due to the emergence of novel computing technologies, the exponential increase of data and novel deep learning algorithms. AI will be transformational across healthcare and significantly influence how we discover and develop new medicines in future. The formation of the new Data Science & AI (DS&AI) function in AZ R&D BioPharmaceuticals will help us to maximise the value of our scientific data. Establishing a robust Data Foundation for Science, ensuring our R&D data is F.A.I.R: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable & Reusable will help us to implement common technologies, infrastructure & tools, along with the processes, standards & quality assurance – to make data “analytics & AI ready”.

Sustainable, FAIR data is the lifeblood of AstraZeneca as a science-led, pure-play pharmaceutical company and critical for the delivery of the AstraZeneca corporate strategy, in which Data, AI and Digital is a foundational value driver for Innovative Science and a potential corporate differentiator.

In our Scientific Data Foundation Programme, we are creating the processes, infrastructure and governance to produce sets of analytics ready data that are FAIR across a range of data types, initially including Omics data, Imaging Data, Clinical Patient data, and biological and small molecule screening and assay data. Other data types will be added in due course. We will be defining and applying metadata for each of these data types. The programme will provide data science environments with appropriate tooling and access to data for data scientists to use to perform analysis to support scientific and drug project portfolio decisions. We are also building sophisticated query interfaces, to enable scientists to find and integrate data within and across data types. The environments will be predominantly cloud based and subject to governance and tracking of data.

To enable our data scientists to take advantage of the wealth of data now available for re-use, we are developing the capability to stand up cloud-based transient data science environments (DSEs), with the right tools and access to data and processing power to perform complex computational tasks. We want to manage the whole lifecycle as efficiently as possible, in a compliant manner where required. The data science environments will be templated, managed, archived and unarchived as required, supporting the ability to repeat analyses. The provision and evolution of DSEs is one of the key ways we enable our data science community to unleash the value of our re-usable pre-clinical and clinical data, and this role is pivotal to making that happen.

We are seeking individuals with strong domain knowledge and informatics experience who can define and articulate a vision for products in our Scientific Data Foundation programme, act as a liaison between Science IT (SIT), Data Science and AI and the wider R&D organisation. The roles will be based in Data Science and AI, part of AZ Biopharmaceutical R&D, reporting to the Head of Data Infrastructure and Tools.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Visibly own and drive the vision and strategy for a capability/data type/analytics framework

  • Manage multiple diverse stakeholders across R&D, including senior roles, resolving conflicting requirements as required.
  • Develop and communicate the program vision and roadmap to R&D and technical audiences
  • Work closely with development and implementation teams, to ensure that the ongoing work is aligned to scientists’ requirements and provide technical translation of those requirements as needed to drive the right solutions, thus ensuring delivery of business value, including prioritising changes in line with changes in business demand, strategic priorities etc
  • Participate in programme Increment planning
  • Define releases and programme increments
  • Lead PoC activities as required to test approaches
  • Act as a key stakeholder conduit, both in terms of understanding the scientific opportunity enabled by delivery and as a communication focal point, driving change into the organisation
  • Act as a capability lead for the resulting enduring solution, along with the platform lead and Business Relationship Manager, managing enhancements and updates, prioritising new demand and driving the realisation of value from the delivery, by promoting uptake and ensuring relevance and performance of the capability to meet scientists needs.

  • Serve as Product Manager or Product owner according to Agile framework.

Essential Requirements

  • PhD in computer sciences or similar field, with at least 8 years of relevant experience
  • Hands-on experience from Agile, preferably in a business context.
  • Relevant degree in Information/Data Science, Computer Science, Informatics, IT, or other related discipline.
  • Experience of pharma and the life sciences
  • Experience of senior data leadership
  • Track record of significant strategic data project delivery with demonstration of clear scientific and/or operational value
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to build strong relationships
  • Conflict resolution: succeeding in situations where a high degree of business acumen, influencing and tact are required to find a way forward
  • Needs the energy, experience, and motivation to work across global & functional boundaries
  • Travel – willingness and ability to travel domestically & internationally.
  • Resilience – ability to overcome and motivate others in the face of a changing environment


  • Experience of achieving tangible and acknowledged value in a similar position and scale of challenge and opportunity. 
  • Knowledge of Drug Discovery and Development practice in BioPharma
  • Strong Change Management track record.

Next Steps – Apply today


To be considered for this exciting opportunity, please complete the full application on our website at your earliest convenience – it is the only way that our Recruiter and Hiring Manager can know that you feel well qualified for this opportunity.  If you know someone who would be a great fit, please share this posting with them.

AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorisation and employment eligibility verification requirements.

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Great culture, great work assignments, supportive management. Rotation opportunity within the company. They value inclusion and diversity.