AstraZeneca and the Royal Academy of Engineering announce new partnership to bolster support for African health tech entrepreneurs.

Joint venture aims to strengthen healthcare innovation, nurture local talent, and boost economic progress across Africa.

Earlier today, AstraZeneca ( and the Royal Academy of Engineering (the Academy) officially announced a new partnership to establish connections between African healthcare innovators and AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network of more than 20 global health innovation hubs. The joint venture seeks to drive the development of engineering solutions that have the potential to address local challenges with a focus on health tech.  

As part of its commitment to building international partnerships and solving global challenges, in 2014 the Academy 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. 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. 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.

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.

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Aleksandr Bedenkov, VP, Medical International at AstraZeneca said: ‘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. A.Catalyst Network offers exciting opportunities for health tech entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate with a truly global network of expertise and experience, helping to accelerate innovation and ensure that more patients can get access to the latest health tech solutions.’

Barbara Nel, Country President, African Cluster at AstraZeneca, said: ‘This partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering is integral to our unwavering commitment to improve health access and create sustainable impact in Africa. 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. We are looking forward to supporting our Africa Prize entrepreneurs in developing their innovative projects and working together to seek answers to our health challenges for the benefit of all patients in Africa.’

Ana Avaliani, Director of Enterprise and Sustainable Development at Royal Academy of Engineering said: ‘Our partnerships are crucial to delivering the breadth and depth of support we can offer, which in turn allows the programme to accelerate African entrepreneurial capacity, producing scalable, local solutions to global challenges. 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. We are looking forward to working with AstraZeneca to amplify the impact of our innovators in harnessing the power of engineering and building a sustainable society and inclusive economy that works for everyone.’

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Going forward, AstraZeneca and the Academy will continue to collaboratively explore further partnership opportunities to support the healthcare system in the region and beyond.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of AstraZeneca.
For media enquiries please contact:
Ana Zainaghi
[email protected]

The Royal Academy of Engineering
Jane Sutton
[email protected]

About AstraZeneca:
AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases, and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. Please visit and follow the Company on Twitter @AstraZeneca.

About A.Catalyst Network:
A.Catalyst Network is an interconnected global network of more than 20 AstraZeneca health innovation hubs, made up of physical locations and virtual partnerships. The network embodies our commitment to Growth Through Innovation ( and is a key part of our Patient Centricity workstream, as ‘a catalyst’ for the development of new solutions to support patients. It aims to address healthcare challenges, increase access to healthcare, and scale and showcase patient‑enabled innovation around the world.

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About The Royal Academy of Engineering:
The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we are growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

About the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation:
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It awards crucial support to ambitious African innovators developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges, demonstrating the importance of engineering as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development. The programme is designed to help engineers achieve commercial success from their innovations. Following an eight-month training and mentoring period, the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is awarded to a chosen winner, who receives £25,000, while three runners-up receive £10,000 each.

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