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Data science teamwork makes the dream work - no unicorns needed

Data science teamwork makes the dream work - no unicorns needed

Working as a data scientist in a healthcare company or institute is often viewed as “the sexiest job in industry”, says Nigel Hughes with a smile. Nigel is Scientific Director in Observational Health Data Analytics at Janssen. Data science is an exponentially growing research field and has become indispensable in biotechnology and pharmaceutics. It can be summarized as the use of scientific methods to extract insights from data.

But what is it exactly that a data scientist does? And more importantly, what makes it the job of a lifetime?

Data scientists extract insights from complex data

Utilizing healthcare data is vital but difficult”, Nigel explains, “The data is often collected in difficult circumstances, such as from a patient at the emergency room after an emergency intervention. Organizing these real-world data so we can make sense of it, is not an easy task.” This is where data scientists come in. They have a major role in extracting value from data.

In a cross-functional team effort, data scientists help to:

  • create new disease insights and identify novel drug targets for therapy;
  • develop biomarkers to identify patients who are likely to benefit from a particular therapy;
  • assist process managers in the supply chain to enhance efficiency;
  • provide clinicians with real-world data insights to optimize treatments for patients; and much more.

At Janssen, we rely on data scientists every step of the way, from early drug discovery over manufacturing, right until the drug reaches the market. This increase in efficiency helps us in getting better treatment options to patients, in a faster way.

Data scientists: unicorns or complementary teams?

Data scientists do not have to be unicorns, highly desirable but difficult to find. The data scientists at Janssen combine diverse backgrounds with experience in computer science, programming, mathematics, statistics, and artificial intelligence. But wait, do such multitalented people actually exist? These ‘unicorns’ who are well versed in all of these skills are indeed rare. And young graduates can’t possibly be qualified in everything. This is why Janssen builds teams composed of professionals whose skills complement each other. Peer-to-peer learning is a powerful development tool for data science skill-building

Jorg Wegner, Associate Scientific Director of In-Silico Data Sciences at Janssen, says: “We welcome data analysts at any stage of their career, allowing you to gain exposure to our different businesses and build expertise in a healthcare setting. We encourage you to learn skills along your career. Investing in learning and development benefits you ànd your team.

So, whatever path you choose in healthcare or the pharmaceutical industry, data science will be extremely valuable. By creating teams with complementary data science talents, we are working together to create a future where disease is a thing of the past.


EM-115675 - apr -2023