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The Astellas innovation challenge

by Astellas

Summary of work

Innovation is a key focus for the British Government. But with the country seeking to carve out a knowledge-based economic future, the need to build a workforce of scientists, doctors and engineers has never been greater. As a pharmaceutical company working at the frontiers of medical science, it’s a concern that Astellas shares.

To engage young people about the exciting potential of STEM careers, Astellas developed The Astellas Innovation Challenge, tasking children to develop a concept for a smartphone app encouraging healthy living. The competition was supported by a series of app development workshops run by experts at schools around the country.

Multimedia activity around the initiative achieved widespread coverage, with 55 million opportunities to see and high key message communication. 181 teams (more than 900 students) entered the competition. A shortlist of 11 teams pitched their health app concepts to a ‘Dragon’s Den’ panel of expert judges, including Countdown maths whizz Rachel Riley. The winning app, MyJar, for improving mental well-being, is now in technical development.

As one teacher summed up, “I truly believe you influenced young minds to think seriously about STEM subjects with this challenge, which we all agree is vital to all our futures.”

Judges’ comments

An impressive programme that sees pharma “punching” out into the real world. Astellas set out to do something that not every company would be comfortable with. This is a really creative and insight-led strategic campaign that engaged the target audience in a relevant way to deliver messages and impact current thinking.