Janssen, UC Berkeley & UCSF launch data science healthcare fellowship

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The fellows will receive funding for two years to execute data-driven research in unmet patient needs.

By U2B Staff 

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Medicines manufacturer Janssen Research & Development, a subsidiary of American multinational Johnson & Johnson (J&J), is teaming up with two leading US universities to expand data science research in healthcare.

The partnership with University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), aims to establish a data science health innovation fellowship that the schools will run in collaboration with the firm’s product and platform teams.

The programme will recruit groups of up to five accomplished data scientists from industry and academia for projects exploring data-driven approaches to innovative research in unmet patient needs.

The fellows will receive access to computer science, engineering, and statistics expertise and technology innovation at UC Berkeley and clinical expertise and data at UCSF. This they will combine with other health and biological datasets to conduct their research over two years, under the mentorship of Janssen, UCSF and UC Berkeley.

Among others, the projects could involve artificial intelligence-driven applications to inform patients about the next steps in their treatment or to provide them with early warning signs of a disease, or new methods to manage and recruit participants for clinical trials. It is hoped their research would lead to new and innovative ways to solve healthcare’s greatest challenges using meaningful insights drawn from large datasets.

The fellows will carry out their work at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) at UC Berkeley and the Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute (BCHSI) at UCSF.

“We’re at an inflection point where the health, technology and consumer industries are converging in new and potentially life-saving ways,” said Janssen Research & Development Global Head Mathai Mammen.

“This fellowship programme aims to bring together data scientists, large biomedical datasets and expertise from both industry and academia to find innovative new ways of improving healthcare and bringing meaningful solutions to people in need.”


Applications to the programme are currently open, with a deadline set for July 29, 2019. The fellowship will commence this October and terminate in October 2021.

Among the criteria sought are:

  • Applicants with computational background with several years of post-degree experience.
  • Work experience in health & biomedical sectors isn’t necessary but applicants must be passionate about using AI to transform healthcare
  • Applicants that are “self-motivated, proactive, forward-thinking, creative”, with a demonstrated ability to “propose, initiate, and carry out ambitious data-intensive projects” with few resources.
  • Applicants with “strong collaboration, interpersonal, and communication skills”, able to work with researchers across both methodological areas and research domains.
  • Applicants able to draw and transform valuable insights from large and messy datasets, and able to communicate their processes effectively to technical and non-technical audiences
  • Applicants with strong technical skills in modeling, programming, and scientific computing.

Along with the programme, Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center, also a J&J subsidiary, has facilitated a broader arrangement that aims to facilitate a wide spectrum of sponsored research projects among UC Berkeley, UCSF, Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices and Consumer companies.

“These agreements with UCSF and UC Berkeley exemplify our commitment to building a thriving network of collaborations that strengthen and leverage data science capabilities and advance compelling scientific research,” said Mammen.

“We see major potential to unlock new disease insights, enhance the effective, efficient discovery of transformative medicines and ultimately deliver better health outcomes for patients around the world.”