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13 July, 2022 - 17:15 By Tony Quested

AstraZeneca to fund 55 more PhD studentships at Cambridge University

AstraZeneca is stepping up a programme of funding studentships at the University of Cambridge. The initiative will also boost knowledge sharing and enterprise across both parties.

The organisations have unveiled a new agreement whereby AstraZeneca will underwrite 55 additional PhD studentships over the next five years, starting in October. 

Over the last 20 years, AstraZeneca has funded more than 100 PhD students from the university as part of a longstanding partnership between the institutions.

This new deal aims to equip research students with the capabilities to work across disciplines and sectors. Students will also hone important translational skills that are needed to turn their research into new medicines and better outcomes for patients.

Kathryn Chapman, Deputy Director of the Milner Therapeutics Institute and the university’s relationship manager for AstraZeneca, commented: “Cambridge University and AstraZeneca see the future of medicine happening at the intersection of different disciplines, where biological understanding of disease processes and the chemistry of how drugs work, meets engineering and artificial intelligence.”

Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, University of Cambridge underscored an important piece of working across subject areas – collaboration. 

He said: “Training the next generation of brilliant scientists who are able to collaborate with colleagues in different disciplines and with industry partners will be critical to getting new treatments to patients.”

Learning how to collaborate and translate advances in research into breakthroughs that improve patient outcomes will be central to the programme. 

To facilitate this, each student will have both an academic and industry supervisor. They will also benefit from access to AstraZeneca’s state-of-the-art labs at its Discovery Centre, home to over 2,200 scientists based on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

By participating in the programme, students will gain insights into all stages of the drug discovery pipeline and receive guidance as to how they can collaborate with industry and help turn their research into new life-changing medicines for patients.

Jacqui Hall, head of Early Careers and R & D Learning, AstraZeneca, said: “This new agreement demonstrates AstraZeneca’s commitment to developing early career scientists and offers a fantastic opportunity for AstraZeneca and Cambridge University to collaborate by sharing knowledge and expertise across academia and industry.”

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