Head of Data Science and AI IMED

  • AstraZeneca
  • Cambridge, UK
  • 31/12/2018
Full time Data Science Data Engineering Machine Learning Data Analytics Artificial Intelligence Data Management Statistics Software Engineering

Job Description

AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines & Early Development organisation (IMED) is seeking a leader who will position data, AI, digital and hypothesis free discovery at the heart of drug discovery and development.  We are looking for a talented individual to come in as the most senior IMED Data Science leader to drive and shape this change.

This is an unique role with responsibility for creating and maintaining a sustainable group to support our ongoing growth and the rapidly changing drug discovery and development pathway. The Head of IMED Data Science is accountable for building a leading AI platform including knowledge graphs and defining the bioinformatics expertise critical to the support of our therapy areas and genomics initiative. The successful individual is likely to have proven expertise in defining data strategies and delivering capabilities covering:

  • data generation, management & use
  • data mining
  • artificial intelligence & cognitive computing
  • bioinformatics
  • mathematical and computational methodological expertise

The jobholder is responsible for providing internal and external scientific, technological, computational expertise and strategic thinking for drug discovery & development programmes, operational and business problems to enhance the utilization and exploitation of data & analytics in evidence-based decision making.  The jobholder is accountable for the initial evaluation of the advances but also the solution delivery to the organisation to ensure true business benefit. 

The role will need to establish a cross IMED data strategy including the organisation of key data types and the standardisation and deployment of core metadata and masterdata standards defining these data types, aligned, where appropriate, with wider Science, Enterprise and external data standards and ontologies.  The role will need to establish and operate the appropriate access, retention, privacy and use controls around IMED data.  In addition, a data quality framework for adherence across IMED processes, involving data generation and processing will need to be established.

The role is accountable for driving the identification, development and implementation of cutting-edge advances in the various fields of data science, AI, Machine Learning and Knowledge Management.  The role is also accountable for recruiting, developing and integrating expertise to support these activities on a global basis within IMED and will have well-recognised external presence in at least one domain.

The job holder must have credible and wide-ranging external profile and ability to attract and retain talent in this extremely niche and highly competitive area.  The pace of innovation in data and analytics is substantial, and the job holder is responsible for ideation and execution of innovative projects that drive significant value into the IMED and broader AZ organisation.  To that end the successful candidate must be adept at forging collaborative relationships and integrating data strategies across all areas of IMED, IT and wider AZ organisation.


Reporting to the EVP, IMED and Business Development, the IMED Head of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence will be accountable for:

  • Set the direction for the IMED from a data perspective as the senior most Data Scientist
  • Sit on the IMED Leadership Team and reports directly to EVP, IMED and Global Business Development
  • Direct artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches that aid our scientific and clinical problem solving
  • Define an IMED data strategy that encompasses data vision, engineering, process architecture, ontology, analytical platforms and transfer/reinforcement frameworks.
  • Evaluation of internal and external technological advances steering solution delivery to the organisation to ensure true business benefit
  • Collaborate, influence and learn from non-IMED science and IT teams in the delivery of data science
  • Collaborate with Science IT in the delivery of D & A solutions, Data Operation services and ensuring deployed information architecture is in line with IMED data standards and requirements
  • Build a strategic data science network crossing leading external institutes and influencing technological innovation towards IMED value
  • Grow and develop a team of talented data science/data governance hires - attract and retain top-tier talent in statistics, informatics, mathematics, data mining, data sciences and computational sciences.
  • Leads the IMED Data Science Centre of Excellence, and is ‘functional’ lead of data scientists resident in other IMED areas, ensuring functional excellence practices for the data science & bioinformatic staff in the IMED who represent a niche and highly difficult group of experts to attract and retain
  • Develop the IMED data governance approach alongside the wider AZ requirements
  • Work with IMED leaders to ensure that resource and expertise are appropriately deployed to provide maximal impact to the business across multiple areas
  • Lead and project manage change initiatives relating to new approaches and methodologies.
  • Contribute to enterprise-wide collaborations

Skills and Knowledge 

  • Degree in a field that has very applicable use of data science / statistics techniques (e.g. statistics, applied math, physics, computer science, OR a science field with direct statistics application)
  • Reasonable industry experience in data science and machine learning,
  • 5+ years of industry data strategies, architectures, standards and business control of data
  • Credible and wide-ranging external profile. 
  • Strong awareness of and understanding of R&D business priorities, with the vision and ability to apply new computational and technological methodologies and approaches to solve scientific problems, operational and business problems in AZ
  • 4+ years of experience managing data science teams, incl. managing/grooming managers beneath you
  • 3+ years of experience partnering with executive staff on data topics
  • Evidence of successfully scoping, delivering and selling data strategies in a way that shifts the agenda of a large organization
  • Fluent in data fundamentals: SQL, data manipulation using a procedural language, statistics, experimentation, and modeling
  • Extensive experience of deep learning and natural language processing techniques
  • Extensive experience of FAIR data practices and structured and unstructured infrastructure
  • Extensive experience in the Biopharmaceutical or other relevant Healthcare industry, working in Informatics or related discipline, with proven record of delivery
  • Broad and comprehensive understanding of drug discovery & development, external data sources and methodologies for the most up to date approaches for evidence generation

For more information about the position please contact the IMED Talent Scout, Tarquin Bennett-Coles on tarquin.bennett-coles@astrazeneca.com with your application no later than January 30th, 2019.

For more information about life in Gothenburg visit www.movetogothenburg.com.

We aim to be flexible, responsive, open and honest and look for people from companies who share our collaborative spirit and high scientific standards. AstraZeneca is an equal opportunity employer. AstraZeneca will consider all qualified applicants for employment without discrimination on grounds of disability, sex or sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity leave status, race or national or ethnic origin, age, religion or belief, gender identity or re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, protected veteran status (if applicable) or any other characteristic protected by law.