Successfully building a vibrant community of R users at AstraZeneca: Lessons Learned!


In the past years, the phama industry has seen a true paradigm shift in its use of R. Up until recently, one had to choose between R and SAS. Today, most statisticians are trained in both languages. With this in mind, at AstraZeneca we built on the growing interest for R, at any stage of the drug development but also company-wide. Since April 2021, we have launched several internal initiatives aiming at federating the community of R users within AstraZeneca. We started by stealing with pride a public initiative, TidyTuesdays, and make it our very own, calling it #azTidyTuesday. On a monthly basis, we promote a public dataset to the community of AstraZeneca R users. This is done by aligning the #azTidyTuesday editions with one AZ value or with an ongoing event (Pride Month, COP26). We also put in place monthly Lunch & Learns, interviews of R users and blog posts. And in early 2022, we organized the first AstraZeneca R Conference. While building this community, we tried many things. Some worked well from the beginning, some required improvements. But all of these initiatives bore fruit as the number of R community members saw a 5-fold increase since launch. More than the numbers, the vibrancy of the community is what makes us proud.

Presented at 2022 Conference