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Innovative Medicine and Early Development Undergraduate Industrial Student Programme

DMPK 12 Month Industrial Placement

Locations: Cambridge

Applications Closed

About the Programme

The IMED Undergraduate Industrial Student (UIPS) Programme introduces individuals to the world of ground-breaking drug discovery, embedding undergraduates within highly dedicated teams driven to creating impactful new medicines.

Find out more here

Programme details

About AstraZeneca

At AstraZeneca, we’ve been long-time advocates of industrial placements and work experience that provide training relevant to the industry. We take it as our responsibility to help promising scientists mature into the researchers of the future. We achieve this by aligning each student to a meaningful research project directly linked to their team’s core objectives and as such makes a significant contribution to creating new drugs. We embed our students into the teams that are driving the research to discover these new drugs, immersing them in a world of practical, laboratory based science.

What you can expect

We offer 12 month placements in world class facilities in two distinct but parallel schemes: Bioscience and Synthetic Organic Chemistry.

Within Bioscience we offer:

  • Bespoke laboratory based projects that accounts for a minimum of 60% of the placement time
  • Individual supervisors responsible for your development
  • Positions available in 4 research Functions that cover the breadth of early drug discovery: Oncology, Discovery Sciences, Personalised Healthcare & Biomarkers and Drug Safety & Metabolism
  • Placements available in Cambridge / Cheshire (UK) and Mölndal (Sweden)

Within Synthetic Organic Chemistry you will:

  • Join one of our project teams as a medicinal chemistry team member
  • Spend 80-90% of your time carrying out practical synthetic chemistry, being exposed to a wide range of diverse organic synthesis
  • Develop a range of transferable attributes including communication and presentation skills
  • Become a proficient synthetic organic chemist

Common to both schemes you will become an expert in a wide range of modern technologies and scientific techniques including access to cutting edge science. You will develop a range of transferable attributes including communication and presentation skills. Collectively the placement experience will significantly enhance your potential for future employment within both academic and industrial environments.

Who can apply

Bioscience undergraduate applicants should be studying for BSc / MSc or equivalent in any Biological or Life Science aligned course, and be performing at a high level (equivalent to achieving a 1st or 2.1 class degree).  BSc candidates should have completed a first year and be starting a second year of study. MSc candidates should have completed a second year and be starting a third year of study.

Chemistry undergraduate applicants should be studying for BSc / MChem / MSci or equivalent, have completed a first year and be starting a second year of study, and be performing at a high level (equivalent to achieving a 1st or 2.1 class degree).

Now is a great time to be a scientist in AstraZeneca. Working across a range of therapy areas our IMED teams are focussed on translating the really cool science that is happening in our labs into the next generation of medicines that patients need. To make this happen we need great people who share our passion for science and who have the drive and determination to meet the unmet needs of patients around the world.

Mene Pangalos EVP, IMED Biotech Unit

How to Join us

You will need to complete an online application using the links to apply at the top of the page. Applications are open from September 1st and close in October. It is important that you take your time to complete your application in full as we place a lot of importance on all areas of the application form.
Please clearly specify your preferences if you are applying for more than one region.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an assessment centre at one of our core R&D Sites.
Successful candidates will then be offered a place on our 2018 programme that is due to commence in September 2018.

Meet our people

Catriona Corbishley - Biochemistry, MBiolSci University of Liverpool

Catriona Corbishley - Biochemistry, MBiolSci University of Liverpool


Hi, I’m Catriona and I’m a Bioscience Undergraduate Industrial Placement Student (UIPS) based at AstraZeneca, Alderley Park. As part of my integrated Masters, I have spent my fourth year on placement within AstraZeneca’s Safety Screening Centre. This department aims to identify hazards then influence chemical design and decision-making during drug discovery. Whilst here I have researched novel human induced stem cell-derived renal cells with the aim of developing an improved in vitro model for drug-induced kidney toxicity. The training and support I have received has allowed me to make meaningful contributions to my project and wider department, giving me the confidence to handle responsibilities I would have previously shied away from. Throughout my project, I have been encouraged to input my own thoughts and ideas and ask any questions I have which has vastly increased my knowledge and independence in the lab. Further to my project, I have assisted other projects within my department such as cardiac, hepatic and mitochondrial toxicity assessments which afforded me the use of many new techniques and advanced technologies.


Whilst balancing full-time employment with my Master’s degree was challenging, I quickly learnt to prioritise tasks and organise my time to accommodate both university and work commitments. Furthermore, the experience and skills my placement has provided have improved my academic work and opened new and exciting opportunities for my future which would have previously been out of reach. I have enjoyed working within such a supportive, collaborative and enthusiastic environment with people who are truly passionate about what they do and am delighted to be joining AstraZeneca permanently at the end of my placement year.

Development opportunities

In addition to my lab work, I have had many new experiences, such as attending scientific conferences, visiting colleagues at other AstraZeneca sites and representing AstraZeneca at STEM events. Like Oliver, I also joined the AZinspire network and attended many Azinspire events such as career talks, workshops and symposiums. These events allowed me to meet people from all areas of the company which gave me a greater understanding of AstraZeneca as a whole.

Closing remarks

I would recommend AstraZeneca’s UIPS year to anyone considering industrial experience and believe the training, experience and opportunities it provides are invaluable to anyone considering a career in science.

Oliver Fudge - Biochemistry, BSc University of Exeter

Oliver Fudge - Biochemistry, BSc University of Exeter


Hello, my name is Oliver, from the University of Exeter, and I worked within Discovery Sciences in the department of Cellular Reagents and Assay Development. I was based in Cambridge, working on the science park in the north of the city. As part of my project, I was involved in the area of Immuno-Oncology. This is a rapidly moving field of research and one that AstraZeneca is an industry leader in.  I was exposed to a vast array of different scientific techniques and the opportunity to use a range of different pieces of equipment, much of which I would have never been able to experience at University.


My competency and confidence in the lab has improved massively from working independently, carrying out real research that was of importance to the project.  Help and guidance was always available, should I require it, from both my assigned line manager and also from fellow scientists in the lab.  I was involved in project discussions, team meetings and review seminars that made me feel like a valued member of the team and showed that AstraZeneca valued my contributions as a student.

Development opportunities

I was a part of AZinspire, a network run predominately by sandwich students and graduates who organised development events and weekly journal club/lunch & learn sessions. This allowed to learn more about the drug discovery process and gain skills such as critically analysing journal articles. A highlight for me was being able to attend a symposium, organised by AZInspire, at our Swedish site in Gothenburg. It was here that we got to learn about areas of the business and visit the in vivo unit.

Closing remarks

I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences this year with AstraZeneca and firmly believe that this will be of massive benefit to me, both in the immediate and in the more distant future. I would wholeheartedly recommend any undergraduate student to consider an industrial placement and I return to university with an increased sense of direction and motivation to pursue my career of choice.

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