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Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence

Cambridgeshire, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Full time
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AstraZeneca UK
Healthcare & medical
10,001+ employees
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Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence

Cambridge UK, Gaithersburg US, Gothenburg SWE

Competitive Salary + Benefits

Make a more meaningful impact to patients’ lives around the globe.

Here you’ll have the chance to create a meaningful difference to patients’ lives.

With science at its heart, this is the place where breakthroughs born in the lab become transformative medicines – for the world’s most complex diseases. Answer unmet medical needs by pioneering the next wave of science, focusing on outcomes and crafting the patient ecosystem. With our ground-breaking pipeline, the outlook is forward-thinking.

Be proud to be part of a place that has achieved so much, yet is still moving forward. There’s no better time to join our global, growing enterprise as we lead the way for healthcare and society.

Job Description

The Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence (CAI) is a member of the Data Science & AI (DS&AI) Leadership Team, and the leader of the global capability for a number of advanced scientific and technological disciplines providing end-to-end expertise to BioPharma R&D.

They will ensure the attraction, retention and growth of world-leading talent across a range of disciplines related to artificial intelligence and machine learning. The Head will develop a compelling and business relevant vision and strategic plan for transforming the way new medicines are discovered, designed, developed and delivered.

They will ensure that ongoing business needs are met – via successful deployment of staff to key data science & AI projects and services. The solutions delivered will generate tangible and measurable impact – both scientific and financial.

Their remit spans the entire R&D value chain, across all BioPharma areas – this includes all BioPharma therapy areas, as well as all expert functions across both BioPharma and Oncology R&D. Thus strong collaboration with the most senior stakeholders across R&D and IT, will be critical to success. They will be a core member of technical and managerial leadership and governance fora, providing strategic and tactical input, critical review & decision making.

The incumbent will be widely networked and prominent in the external environment, being recognised as a key global expert in their field. They will identify the most promising external academic and commercial partnerships, and drive them to realise significant impact within AZ.

Typical Accountability

  • To attract, lead, manage and develop a large, cross-skilled team of AI scientists, including machine learning specialists, researchers and engineers, consisting of single contributors as well as team leaders

  • Evaluate opportunities and drive impactful projects in areas including computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning, audio and sensor analytics, knowledge graph inference, ML research

  • Create a stimulating, inspiring and rewarding environment which allows individuals to develop their careers in a variety of directions

  • Act as the leading expert in R&D in their area(s) of specific expertise

  • Provide internal and external scientific, technological and computational expertise and strategic thinking to a range of stakeholder groups within R&D, to enhance evidence-based and data-driven decision making

  • Ensure a balance between service & project delivery and applied innovation, collaborating with other leaders in DS&AI to pursue promising new techniques and approaches through to success/fast-failure

  • Identify the opportunities for AI to have the greatest impact in AZ R&D

  • Sit on DS&AI LT and contribute to strategy, vision and objectives for the function

  • Serve on data science & AI governance groups and technical/decision making bodies as required

  • Drive programmes to ensure a high quality, cutting edge skills base is available at all times aligned to R&D needs – permanent recruitment, outsourcing alliances, academic collaborations, graduate recruitment, internships, secondments

  • Ensure that resource and expertise are appropriately deployed to provide maximal impact to the business across multiple areas

  • Maintain a wide set of collaborative relationships, both inside and outside the company, including with academics, KOLs and regulators, able to enhance the standing of AZ externally, and bring new ideas back in-house

  • Represent AZ on internal/external panels, boards and other bodies as required

  • Proactively direct strategic cross-R&D collaborations


  • MSc/PhD in Computer Science, Mathematics, the Physical Sciences or other relevant discipline

  • Experience of senior data science / AI leadership in a diverse matrix organisation

  • Experience of pharma and the life sciences, with a comprehensive understanding of the R&D drug development lifecycle

  • Track record of significant data science project, service and skills delivery with demonstration of clear scientific and/or operational value

  • Track record of the delivery of AI / machine learning solutions that transform the way business or science is done

  • Proven leadership, promoting motivation and empowerment to accomplish objectives

  • Positive change management skills and pedigree

  • Strong analytical and problem solving ability, working in situations with very high complexity

  • Excellent communication skills and ability to build strong relationships, resolving conflicts across a broad stakeholder base

  • Needs the energy, experience, and motivation to work across global & functional boundaries

  • Travel – willingness and ability to travel domestically & internationally.


  • Recognized globally as an expert in at least one relevant field

  • Substantial managerial experience

  • Broad experience in improvement projects, and large scale technology tools/solutions

  • Demonstrated productive collaborative research projects

Why we love it

If your passion is science and you want to be part of a team that makes a bigger impact on patients’ lives, then there’s no better place to be. Here we truly understand science and apply it every day to strengthen and grow our pipeline.

So, what’s next?

  • Are you already imagining yourself joining our team? Good, because we can’t wait to hear from you.

  • Are you ready to bring new ideas and fresh thinking to the table? Brilliant! We have one seat available and we hope it’s yours.

Where can I find out more?

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Closing Date


AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements.

AstraZeneca requires all US employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 but will consider requests for reasonable accommodations as required by applicable law.