A new partnership between AstraZeneca and the Royal Academy of Engineering (the Academy) to establish connections between African healthcare innovators and AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network of more than 20 global health innovation hubs will drive the development of engineering solutions that have the potential to address local challenges with a focus on health tech.
Strengthening healthcare innovation
AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network brings together digital, R&D and commercial resources to reimagine the future of healthcare, working with partners to co-create solutions and establish integrated and strong health systems that benefit the whole patient experience.
“We recognise that breakthrough science and healthcare don’t happen in isolation; they are the result of collaboration and partnerships to strengthen healthcare innovation and creativity,” says Barbara Nel, country president, African cluster at AstraZeneca.
As part of the Academy’s commitment to building international partnerships and solving global challenges, in 2014 it founded The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, an annual award that grants crucial commercialisation support to ambitious innovators across sub-Saharan Africa.
To date, over 100 innovators are part of the Africa Prize alumni network.
“We believe that while one innovator can change a community, a network can transform a continent, and the Africa Prize network truly represents the brightest minds tackling the greatest challenges,” says Ana Avaliani, director of enterprise and sustainable development at Royal Academy of Engineering.
By connecting Africa Prize entrepreneurs to A.Catalyst Network as well as the AstraZeneca supply chain and wider ecosystem (including investors), the AstraZeneca-Academy partnership hopes to further strengthen the work of both organisations to nurture local talent and strengthen healthcare innovation and creativity on the African continent.
Sharing knowledge and insights
As part of the collaboration, AstraZeneca will join the Prize’s network of expert mentors, offering training support for Africa Prize entrepreneurs, giving them access to tailored expertise and experience to help them develop their projects.
AstraZeneca will also take part in a webinar series for the Africa Prize alumni network and current cohort, sharing knowledge and insights on health tech and other subjects.
“We want to offer entrepreneurs in emerging markets like Africa the same kind of platform and opportunities that their counterparts in other countries would benefit from,” says Aleksandr Bedenkov, VP, Medical International at AstraZeneca.