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IMED – AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines & Early Development Graduate Scheme

How do you ensure a fresh intake of new talent in a period of recession, downsizing and reorganisation? Training is often the first item on the budget to be slashed under difficult circumstances but AstraZeneca chose a different path.


How do you ensure a fresh intake of new talent in a period of recession, downsizing and reorganisation? Training is often the first item on the budget to be slashed under difficult circumstances but AstraZeneca chose a different path.

Recognising the importance of new graduates to innovation, in 2013 the company launched its Innovative Medicines and Early Development Graduate Programme.

In its first year, the programme recruited 17 graduates to AstraZeneca’s UK, Sweden and USA research sites. Each graduate undertakes three 8-month rotations across the company’s research areas. Placements are designed to develop a graduate’s technical skills and places them in a multidisciplinary environment, where they have the opportunity to work on real drug discovery projects so are really able to directly make a meaningful difference to patients’ health through great science.

The graduates are also enrolled into a global graduate development programme where they meet three times at one of AstraZeneca’s R&D sites to work on the softer and leadership skills required to be successful in industry too.

The graduates keep track of their professional development in a learning journal and through a video diary, and have regular meetings with their mentors who support them through their two-year journey on the programme. This encourages these early-stage professionals to reflect on what they’ve learned and how they’ve applied it in the workplace, and to take responsibility for their future development.

The programme has been such a success that AstraZeneca is now recruiting a further 30 graduates to join the programme in September 2014 from a diverse pool of Global Talent; the company is well on track to deliver this target by the end of July 2014.

With thanks to Donna Watkin, AstraZeneca’s global graduate programme manager

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