Are you a creative problem solver and a quick learner interested in observational & quantitative research? Do you have passion and curiosity for using healthcare data to drive research and development of novel treatments for patients around the world? Do you want to use complex algorithms to generate insights from a variety of medical datasets? Do you want to start your career at one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, in a team that aims to transform how we use data and advanced analytics to improve care for patients?
Then StarTrack, the programme in Personalised Healthcare (PHC) Data Science, is made for you! You will join the Global PHC Data Science team at Roche in Basel, Switzerland or in Welwyn, United Kingdom for a period of 24 months to work on innovative projects spanning multiple disease areas leveraging large amounts of healthcare data originating from EMRs (Electronic Medical Records), Disease Registries, Clinical Trials, Insurance Claims, Digital Health, Genomics and Imaging. You would be working side by side with other Roche data scientists to help uncover answers to challenging clinical and business questions.
- Duration: 24 months
- Location: Roche Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland or in Welwyn, United Kingdom
- A structured programme preparing early-in-career graduates for an industry position in Personalised Healthcare (PHC) Data Science
- Opportunities for varied, challenging and innovative projects at different sub-functions in Roche PHC Data Science (e.g. Real-World Data, Advanced Analytics, Digital Health and Imaging).
Outcome and prospects
- Develop a thorough understanding of how healthcare data could be used to generate meaningful insights accelerating research and development of new medicines
- Hands-on experience using real-world evidence in pharmaceutical development, regulatory approval and market access contexts
- Use artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve some of the hardest problems in biomarker discovery, clinical trial design, and outcome research
- Design novel methodologies to combine multi-modal healthdata such as clinical, imaging, omics and digital health originating from clinical trials and other real-world data sources
- Professional development opportunities including presenting your research at conferences and participating in a variety of courses offered by the company
- Opportunities to be involved in all aspects of our work, from conceptualisation of research ideas to study design, programming and analysis, interpretation and dissemination of results through internal presentations or publications
Who you are
- Recent PhD university graduate (you have defended your PhD before your start date or have graduated no more than 18 months prior to starting)
- Graduate of a quantitative data science discipline (e.g. Epidemiology, Statistics, Bioinformatics or Computer Science)
- A degree in any sciences discipline such as Neuroscience, Oncology, Infectious diseases etc., combined with extensive quantitative data experience may also be considered
- Previous experience utilising longitudinal patient-level data preferred
- Statistical programming skills preferred e.g. R, SAS, Python
- Proven history of publications in peer-reviewed journals, and/or abstracts (including presentations) at scientific conferences is a plus
- Fluency in written and verbal English
- Good interpersonal and presentational skills
How to apply?
The recruitment cycle for 2021 will start Q4, 2020. You will join the Global PHC Data Science team at Roche in Basel, Switzerland or in Welwyn, United Kingdom.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps in the recruitment process for the StarTrack programme?
After the initial screening of candidate applications based on cover letters and CVs, you may be contacted by HR for a video assessment. As part of this, you will learn more about the role from PHC Data Science team members and you will respond to questions about your experience and your motivation for the StarTrack programme. Your responses will be recorded. Candidates selected after the video assessment will be invited to attend the assessment centre day that takes place in Basel. You will have the opportunity to meet people in the PHC Data Science team and your current skills and your potential within PHC Data Science will be evaluated throughout the day. Successful candidates will be notified by late September for a start date in the first half of 2020.
How is the StarTrack programme structured?
The StarTrack programme is a two-year rotational, structured programme in PHC Data Science to help early-in-career individuals gain hands-on experience in Roche Pharma. You will be supported throughout your fellowship by your core team, including your programme manager, project mentors and buddy. The programme is built around six proficiency themes: 1) strategic competence, 2) research processes, 3) hands-on analytics, 4) communication and presentation, 5) pharma basics and 6) career development. To develop the six proficiencies, you will work on a minimum of four different projects (spanning approximately six months each) over the two years of the programme. The StarTrack Fellowship is a personalised programme. This means that the projects you will be working on are selected based on your research background, potential and personal interests, and they can also be co-developed with your manager.
In which therapeutic areas will I work as a StarTrack fellow?
Our projects span multiple therapeutic areas, including neuroscience, oncology, immunology and ophthalmology.
What is a typical project assigned to a StarTrack fellow?
The StarTrack projects selected for you are likely to touch on one of the therapeutic areas mentioned above, but the focus may differ – ranging from strategic (focus on therapeutic area) to execution (focus on hands-on analytics) – and some projects will focus on capability building such as infrastructure building, methods work (e.g. imaging as a robust outcome measure) and digital health.
A typical neuroscience assignment may involve working on a project that helps us to understand multiple sclerosis and to develop a study protocol in which real world data (RWD) is used to contextualise data from a Roche product post-approval study. In oncology, a typical RWD assignment with a strategic focus might be a data source landscaping project to explore current treatment patterns across various disease states with the aim of informing the patient population. During your projects, you will be mentored by more experienced data scientists.
What would a typical working day as a StarTrack fellow involve?
This differs on a day-to-day basis, but a typical working day includes several meetings. These can be with individuals from your core team or group meetings with colleagues from PHC. Between meetings, you will work on your project assignments. There are also many training opportunities within Roche, which you are encouraged to engage in. These can vary from methodological workshops to learning courses with external speakers aimed at further developing your professional skills. One thing that is really embedded in the Roche culture is networking and interacting with colleagues, so a typical working day also includes (in)formal interactions over a cup of coffee or lunch.
What kind of challenges may occur during the first months of the StarTrack programme?
When coming from academia it can take some time to learn the Roche culture and familiarise yourself with the PHC function and the various development activities and research programmes. This can be a little overwhelming in the beginning because of the complexity of the company, but that is entirely normal. Most early-in-career graduates are used to working in relatively small environments, but working at a large pharma company like Roche is different. There are many individuals from different functions involved in each project, all with their own responsibilities. As a result, not only cooperation but also clear and persuasive communication are key. Besides adjusting to the new working environment, foreigners may also find it challenging to get used to the relocation and new country’s culture. Luckily Roche provides support with this and your colleagues will also help you with some useful tips.
What are the possibilities upon completion of the StarTrack programme?The StarTrack programme aims to prepare you as a strong candidate for any of the data scientist positions available in PHC Data Science or similar roles within Roche Pharma.
Learn more about PHC at Roche
Selection of recent publications from PHC Data Science
Davies, J., Martinec, M., Delmar, P., Coudert, M., Bordogna, W., Golding, S., Martina, R., and Crane, G. (2018). Comparative effectiveness from a single-arm trial and real-world data: alectinib versus ceritinib. J. Comp. Eff. Res.
Bhutani, T., Abrouk, M., Sima, C.S., Sadetsky, N., Hou, J., Caro, I., Chren, M.-M., and Arron, S.T. (2017). Risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma after treatment of basal cell carcinoma with vismodegib. J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 77, 713–718.
Curtis, M.D., Griffith, S.D., Tucker, M., Taylor, M.D., Capra, W.B., Carrigan, G., Holzman, B., Torres, A.Z., You, P., Arnieri, B., et al. (2017). Development and Validation of a High-Quality Composite Real-World Mortality Endpoint. Health Serv. Res. 0.
Davies J, Patel M, Gridelli C, De Marinis F, Waterkamp D, McCusker ME. (2017) Real-world treatment patterns for patients receiving second-line and third-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer: A systematic review of recently published studies. PloS one. 2017 Apr 14;12(4):e0175679.
Houghton, R., Ong, R.C., and Bolognani, F. (2017) Psychiatric comorbidities and use of psychotropic medications in people with autism spectrum disorder in the United States. Autism Res. 10: 2037-2047. doi:10.1002/aur.1848.
Kim, S.C., Solomon, D.H., Rogers, J.R., Gale, S., Klearman, M., Sarsour, K., and Schneeweiss, S. (2017) Cardiovascular Safety of Tocilizumab Versus Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Multi-Database Cohort Study. Arthritis Rheumatol. 69, 1154–1164.
Krueger, W.S., Anthony, M.S., Saltus, C.W., Margulis, A.V., Rivero-Ferrer, E., Monz, B., Hirst, C., Wormser, D., and Andrews, E. (2017). Evaluating the Safety of Medication Exposures During Pregnancy: A Case Study of Study Designs and Data Sources in Multiple Sclerosis. Drugs - Real World Outcomes 4, 139–149.
Willis, J., Morse, L., Vitale, S., Parke, D.W., Rich, W.L., Lum, F., and Cantrell, R.A. (2017). Treatment Patterns for Myopic Choroidal Neovascularization in the United States: Analysis of the IRIS Registry. Ophthalmology 124, 935–943.
Brandon Arnieri, Coen Bernaards, Kenneth Wilhelm, James Black, Ceri Hirst, Michael Taylor, Peter Lambert, Kathryn Green, Michael Lu, Kathryn Humphrey (2016) Changing Demographics and Treatment Patterns in Patients the United States with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in the First-Line Setting As Assessed Using a Novel Electronic Health Record Database Blood Dec 2016, 128 (22) 4787.
First 100 days at Roche
I can remember my first day at Roche well, coming straight out of academia and with little to no experience in pharma. Now, almost three months later, it feels like a whole new world has opened up to me – one with many possibilities. I have already learned so much in the past three months, including personally, that the day I first walked into the office now feels like a lifetime ago. As the first StarTrack trainee to start in Personalised Healthcare (Real World Data), I felt priviliged that I could kick-off this programme here in Basel, which without a doubt will be the future for data science. Training early-in-career PhD graduates to take on a role as a data scientist is something that is really embedded in the company’s culture. It gets the right people to the right places. After obtaining my PhD cum laude last year, this programme was exactly what I needed to jump-start my career in pharma and hopefully have a direct impact on patients’ health in this new setting. Here at Roche, we really do have the unique oppurtunity to change the healthcare landscape and shape the future. We are aware of this responsibility and I am glad to be part of it.
I vividly remember the excitement and anticipation I felt about starting my first position in the pharma industry at Roche. Coming directly from academia, the StarTrack programme offered me not only the perfect opportunity to leverage my existing skills and competencies, but also the potential to develop new capabilities and make a significant impact in healthcare. During recent months, I have had the privilege of meeting numerous highly skilled colleagues within PHC and beyond, all of whom work passionately on pioneering solutions to improve patients’ lives. The possibility of building such a strong network is invaluable in and of itself, but it is also the most authentic way to learn about the many different functions within the company. Being part of Roche and working on innovative projects within PHC is incredibly exciting and extremely beneficial to both my personal and professional development. The decision to join PHC after obtaining my PhD started a challenging and promising journey that has taken me right to the heart of data science and personalised healthcare.