The importance of STEM and how we are influencing the next generation

AstraZeneca has always attracted some of the best talent in the world, which has translated to impressive advancements in the treatment and prevention of diseases. However, research suggests that by middle-school, many US-based students begin to lose interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) - with 76% of teenage boys and 89% of teenage girls losing interest in careers - threatening the pipeline of tomorrow.1,2

Nurturing and inspiring the young innovators of tomorrow is vital for progress. We must also make sure science is accessible to diverse minds; the challenges of tomorrow are significant and we need to think differently to make the biggest impact.

José Baselga Executive Vice-President, Research & Development Oncology

Through our STEM programmes we aim to inspire the next generation of science leaders to help young people understand the wide range of opportunities across STEM and empower them to achieve all they want to. To do this, we are focussed on making science real, showing students how the topics they are learning about in the classroom translates in the real-world and in the development of life-changing medicines.

Sir Mene Pangalos EVP and President BioPharmaceuticals R&D

To continue transforming the lives of millions of patients around the world, AstraZeneca remains committed to inspiring and supporting the development of the next generation of scientists, engineers and healthcare professionals through various programs, including:

Generation Health: How Science Powers Us

A year ago, we launched the Generation Health: How Science Powers Us  partnership with Learning Undefeated™ and Discovery Education™, with the mutual goals of providing students with hands-on, standards-aligned STEM learning activities that make complex scientific concepts accessible and relatable for every student. In just a short time, we have engaged thousands of students and fostered understanding in preventative measures and innovative solutions across oncology, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

At a time when K-12 education continues to be disrupted around the world, we have also developed new e-learning modules for infectious diseases that aim to educate and inspire today’s students to be champions of science and health literacy.

Our ‘Ask a Scientist’ Video Series

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, scientists and students alike were suddenly faced with limited access to labs and classrooms, threatening to widen the gap in STEM education when it mattered more than ever. AstraZeneca harnessed the opportunity to rethink STEM education for this 'new normal', and created a suite of fun and engaging educational materials to make biomedical research accessible to everyone from the youngest children to peer scientists — essentially, anyone interested in and inspired by science.

In our ‘Ask a Scientist’ video series, AstraZeneca scientists are challenged to explain complex science, such as antibody drug conjugates and oncolytic viruses, to people, in a way that is simple, compelling, and clear

You can find all the episodes on YouTube. Click here to watch and subscribe to the whole series:


Classroom Takeovers

As a global company, AstraZeneca also leverages its global reach and scientific expertise to support positive change in our local communities. Our employees regularly volunteer to support our STEM programs, and to provide assistance to their local schools, including introductory science experiments, STEM clubs, mentoring, and career presentations. Hear from a few of our many “STEMbassadors” on why STEM education is crucial to inspire the leaders of tomorrow:

At-Home Science Experiments

At AstraZeneca, we consider science serious fun – whether in our R&D labs or in our very own personal lab, the kitchen. To share this infectious joy of science with children of all ages and using only household items, Ann Taylor, MD, Chief Medical Officer; Mika Sovak, MD, PhD, Vice President and Franchise Head, Oncology R&D; and Renee Iacona, MPH, PhD, Vice President of Oncology Biometrics, Oncology R&D, recently designed and presented age-appropriate and DIY at-home experiments to make science more accessible to the next generation of scientists. These experiments were recently shared at the USA Science and Engineering Festival’s virtual SciFest and are now available for scientists of all ages.

Our commitment to STEM Education

We are proud of the progress we have made on behalf of STEM education, but we recognize that there is far more to be done to foster curiosity and passion in STEM, as well as to empower the young scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians of tomorrow. AstraZeneca is committed to continuing this momentum by leveraging its global reach to elevate science across many channels – to ensure that science matters and make STEM education appealing to all.

To learn more about our STEM initiatives, visit



1. United States Department of Education. 2006. The Condition of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Government Printing Office.

2. Junior Achievement USA. 2018. 2018 Teens and Careers.

Veeva ID: Z4-28900
Date of preparation: November 2020


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