Students from left to right: Jack Richards, Hannah Nicholls, Zeeshan Rahman, Emily Lomax and Shayin Gibson at one of the AstraZeneca sites.

Exeter Medical students complete exciting experiential week at AstraZeneca

Undergraduate medical scientists at the University of Exeter Medical School gained a valuable insight into the workplace during a week-long placement at pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

Students Jack Richards, Hannah Nicholls, Zeeshan Rahman, Emily Lomax and Shayin Gibson from the Medical Sciences programme, visited AstraZeneca’s sites in Cambridge, Cheshire and Luton, to learn more about the processes of drug discovery, development, manufacture and marketing sales. The students met a variety of different staff members in different roles, including the Head of Marketing and Sales, and the Medical Director.

This experience gave the students an insight into potential careers in the pharmaceutical industry, in addition to networking and gaining contacts within the organisation itself.

Zeeshan Rahman, 20, a first year on the Medical Sciences programme, said: “Visiting the different sites of AstraZeneca was an extremely valuable experience. I was amazed to learn about the development of pharmaceutical drugs and how this translated into a growing number of new, exciting and unique jobs available for medical sciences and bioscience graduates. It has given me a clear and realistic insight into how the pharmaceutical industry operates and has helped me consider embarking on a professional training year in the future.”

Fellow student Hannah Nicholls said: “It hugely developed my understanding as to how the pharmaceutical industry actually develops a drug and all the different roles involved. It was a really insightful week.”

Dr Emma Taylor at the University of Exeter Medical School said: “Placements like this are vital for undergraduates to help them understand the industry. As well as offering a high level of education for our students, we prepare them to drive innovation, and this is a key stepping stone as part of that. Potential placements allow them to see what opportunities are available, and to network with experienced professionals who can offer advice on their future careers.”

Dr Jonathan Day of AstraZeneca said: “During the placement with AstraZeneca the students gained insights into many parts of the organisation including drug discovery, clinical trials, and manufacturing, regulation, and drug safety systems. The students should be commended for their enthusiasm and engagement with the experience which will, I hope, be informative for whatever career paths they follow.”

AstraZeneca is a global pharmaceutical company looking to push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines.

Date: 29 February 2016

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