About Biometrics and Information Sciences (B&I)
The Biometrics and Information Sciences (B&I) graduate programme is designed to provide you with the opportunity to support analysis and reporting as well as become future leaders for the Biometrics and Information Sciences function. The programme includes Statisticians, Programmers and Information Scientists.
This programme is offering permanent positions for statisticians and programmers and fixed term contracts for information scientists, during the first two years graduates work on real drug development projects. Graduates receive on the job training and will also participate in the global Biometrics and Information Sciences structured graduate training programme. B&I has an active graduate network across all skills and there are opportunities to join the business wide AZ graduate network.
Biometrics & Information Sciences (B&I) is the home of late stage development biometrics activity at AstraZeneca. B&I drive good design to generate the data needed for quality decision making on AstraZeneca’s late stage Projects. The goal of B&I is to deliver value to the pipeline by excellence in delivery, improving decision making, and engaging and shaping the external environment whilst accessing and implementing innovative solutions.
Therapy Area aligned activities are supported by the novel Advanced Analytics Centre (AAC) & Information Practice Unit. AAC are tasked with developing and delivering cutting edge solutions to critical scientific and business issues in drug development. The Information Practice drives the creative use of both internally and externally sourced information in design and decision-making. They are leaders in good information practice, encouraging efficiency and information re-use.
B&I is part of our Global Medicines Development (GMD) division, the area of our business responsible for Drug Development - progressing innovative molecules into medicines.
About the programme
- The B&I graduate programme has 4 key elements, experiential learning, skills development, team work and leadership development and a social network.
- All graduates will undertake real work, collaborating with experienced staff. During the first two years you will have different learning experiences designed to build broader skills and increase broader business understanding. These learning experiences may involve design of studies, supporting the development of reporting standards, analysis of studies, supporting regulatory submissions, payer dossiers, publications, conducting literature reviews, use of observational data, modelling and simulation, trial transparency working in different Therapy Areas (TAs) or sites.
- You will be supported with skills development relevant to your area of work and this will include; processes, ways of working quality management, risk management, standards, SAS training (if required), skill specific training (eg. Statistics, programming and text mining, information search and retrieval). You will have a coach/mentor and will be encouraged to be members of relevant professional bodies.
- There will be graduate development events focussed on personal effectiveness, team effectiveness and leadership skills.
In addition Graduates will become part of ‘BIG’ Biometrics and Information Sciences Graduate Network which provides a network across current and previous B&I Graduates which aims to build understanding of roles within B&I and sharing project knowledge. It is organised by the graduates for the graduates with monthly presentations. BIG also operates a ‘Buddy System’ which partners a more experienced graduate or recent hire to help new graduates initially in the transition from study to Industry. Graduates can also join the across AZ Graduate network.
What you can expect
Through developing your expertise, you will have the opportunity to add value in a broad range of B&I disciplines, including model-based drug development, real world evidence, health technology assessment, safety science and personalised healthcare. So you know you’ll be part of a diverse and collaborative culture of support and development.
Our Statisticians, Programmers and Information Scientists provide highly experienced strategic input, expertise, and leadership to project teams in the design, analysis and interpretation of clinical studies and programmes of studies. Some also lead strategic capability or business area improvements within the department and across AZ research and development.
- Able to demonstrate leadership skills and team working
- Good written and verbal communication skills
- MS/MSc (or local equivalent) in Mathematics, Statistics. Relevant PhD would be desirable.
- Programming knowledge (preferably SAS)
- Awareness of database set-up and report publishing requirements
- Able to demonstrate leadership and team working
- Good verbal and written communication skills
- BSc (or local equivalent) in Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science or Life Science.
- Able to demonstrate leadership skills and team working
- Good written and verbal communication skills
- Research Skills
- Information handling Skills e.g. literature review, knowledge management
- At least a second class honours degree(or local equivalent) in Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science or Life Science.
Meet our people
I started my two-year graduate placement at AstraZeneca back in September 2015 within Information Practice of Biometrics & Information Sciences, under the title of Clinical Information Scientist.
During this time, I have been lucky enough to work on a variety of different projects. These have spanned exploratory analyses using Real World Evidence for a collaborative publication with PatientsLikeMe, to supporting immuno-oncology drug team activities.
What all the experiences on the graduate scheme have had in common is the chance to learn something new, building upon my knowledge and open up new opportunities. For example, I started out in one of my first projects learning to use text mining software to create a nausea side effect database from the FDA Drug Product Labels, this subsequently lead to using text mining in other areas, like performing literature searches to support the design of new studies.
Furthermore, a key benefit to doing a graduate scheme with AstraZeneca is the company’s keen focus on an individual’s personal development; I have thoroughly enjoyed the way in which I have been actively encouraged to pursue my interests throughout my time with AZ.
I joined AstraZeneca as a graduate statistician in 2006, then based in Alderley Park in Cheshire. I had just finished my studies at Cambridge University (MMath in mathematics / part III of the Tripos) and wanted a job that would both challenge me and also be part of a wider practical purpose. Working as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry seemed to meet that brief.
Over the last 10 years I have progressed through several promotions to the level of Statistical Science Director. I act as the Global Product Statistician (GPS) which means that I have responsibility for leading the statistical components and strategy for a drug product that is in clinical development. I enjoy the fact that statisticians can play in influential role and guide the strategy of drug projects rather than being seen purely as number-crunchers.
I have been well supported in my personal development at AstraZeneca and have been given opportunities to develop my technical skills, test my leadership abilities and experience new areas. I began my career at AstraZeneca supporting translational science work (i.e. at the very start of the clinical development work for a drug in humans) and have experienced all the phases of development right up to marketed products. I have been able to work in several therapy areas, specialising in particular in auto-immune diseases, rheumatology and respiratory diseases.
In my experience, AstraZeneca are good at nurturing talent and support staff when there are areas that they want to develop. Aside from drug project work I have been able to lead several projects that have supported my own personal development. These include being able to spend time on novel methodological work (in adaptive designs) and also having the chance to lead a cross-industry Special Interest Group as part of PSI (Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry – a cross-industry society for biostatisticians).
For several years I ran graduate outreach activities for our department visiting biostatistics masters students at several UK universities and giving the students a sense of what working in the industry was like. I truly believe that graduate recruitment brings new energy to our department and builds our group’s strength for the long term.
Last year I made the move from Cheshire down to Cambridge in preparation for the new R&D site being built in the city. It is an exciting time to see what the future in our new location will bring.
Hello, I joined AZ in 2004 as a graduate statistician based in Alderley Park, after finishing my MSc at Southampton university. Whilst at uni, I remember seeing a number of ‘roadshows’ from different companies during my MSc, including AZ, and they gave me good insight into the work of pharmaceutical statistics. The first study I worked on was a Phase I volunteer study looking at the effect of food on the pharmacokinetics of a drug and it had no missing data – I didn’t appreciate at the time what a rarity that situation was! Since then I’ve worked on PI-PIII studies, primarily in oncology and have had many great opportunities (a highlight being working on Lynparza) and made great friends.
I progressed from statistician, to senior statistician, to Principal Statistician, to Statistical science director and my job now is a Biometrics Team Leader, so a blended role that involves both project accountabilities for the biometrics input on a project, and being a line manager (with the opportunity to develop others). New opportunities still present themselves, and in 2015 I moved (with my family) to the USA and I’m now based out of the Gaithersburg office (just outside Washington D.C.), and in 2016 I moved into a new therapeutic area, supporting Respiratory. So 13 years on and I am still learning and I hope that always continues.
I studied Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2015. It was towards the end of my final year, in the middle of a cricket match, I received a call at deep point from a recruitment agency. Was I interested in working at a big pharma company? Yes. Would I like to learn how to program in SAS? Why not. In the summer of my second year I had completed an internship in New York at a biotech hedge fund, so I was already looking for opportunities to continue working in biotech or pharmaceuticals, ideally making use of my scientific background. I hadn’t heard of SAS before, but an initial cursory google with the limited 3G at third man and a more thorough investigation when I got home had me seeing this as a fantastic opportunity to potentially start a fulfilling and exciting career in an industry I was and am genuinely interested in. An important point to note at this point is that I had not been told that the ‘big pharma company’ was AZ, but I had worked it out when I was informed I would be based in Cheshire. Another crucial detail is that I wouldn’t be employed by the pharma company; I was to be employed by a SAS consultancy that specialises in training graduates in SAS and sending them to client sites, usually banks, but also pharma companies like AZ.
In the midst of my preparation for my imminent finals, I went for the interview at the SAS consultancy in Cumbria, did some tests, went through a formal interview day, and I got the gig. I found out the client site I was to be based at was indeed, AstraZeneca, but only if I passed an interview day there. Before my interview day at AZ I decided that if I was not offered a place on the programming team I wouldn’t pursue the SAS consultancy - I wasn’t interested in working in a bank. It also wasn’t a given that if I was successful I would take the position. However, during my preparation for the interview day at AZ I found myself wanting this job more and more. I was particularly drawn to the AZ values; ‘following the science’ is a fantastic way to work and something that I had been hoping to do in my career for a while. The opportunity to do it so early was amazing and something I became determined not to pass up. It was also clear that AZ were looking to take on successful graduate programmers permanently. I was successful on the interview day and began my SAS training in June 2015, before my last term at university had ended. Sometimes I wonder if starting so early was worth it – it was. In August 2015 I started working at the client site; AstraZeneca.
Throughout my first year contracting at AZ I had one goal; get a permanent contract with AZ by August 2016. I spent my first six months working at Alderley Park before making the move to the Cambridge area in February 2016. In the six months that followed I like to think I sealed the deal with AZ and was offered a permanent contract, which I was pleased to accept. By this time I had found myself really enjoying working in the Biometrics & Information Sciences team and invested in the projects I was working on; I simply did not want to leave. AstraZeneca strives to be a great place to work and I believe that the commitment to putting patients first, entrepreneurial spirit, doing the right thing, playing to win and following the science sets AZ apart from other pharmaceutical companies, and indeed other companies that my graduate peers are working at. I look forward to the rest of my journey at AZ and the exciting places my career will take me.
Any graduate student is concerned with what the next step in their career development would be. As an international student in Sweden, I felt unsure about the career opportunities that lay ahead. Nonetheless, I aspired to find my dream job, where I would work in an international environment; be involved in a meaningful work applying the skills and knowledge that I have acquired in university; meet challenges, which would help me develop further and would make my days interesting; do something that makes me proud. AstraZeneca’s graduate programme provided me with exactly this opportunity. In August 2015, I started as a statistician working on anifrolumab. Since then, among other things, I have been involved in conducting exploratory analyses, planning the statistical aspects of future anifrolumab studies, developing new endpoint to be used in lupus studies, and co-authoring publications. The job has been a good mix of theoretical research and practical work and suits my interests perfectly. I am happy that for this 18 months my responsibilities have increased greatly and it feels wonderful to be contributing to such a meaningful to patients and scientists work.
I have been with Astrazeneca for over 2 years now, after completing a Masters course at Lancaster University. Initially, I started as AstraZeneca in Biometrics and Information Sciences at Alderley Park in UK before transferring to Gothenburg. Within my time at Astrazeneca I have worked on a number of treatments in the inflammation therapeutic area as well as a number of specialist tasks and university collaborations. Using my degrees in mathematics and statistics to help improve the lives of people is incredibly rewarding. The broad spectrum of opportunities and challenges that I’m faced with daily come with the support of fantastic colleagues who are always willing to help. I would highly recommend becoming an Astrazeneca graduate recruit to anyone interested.