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Dr Louise Leong PhD FRSB

Louise Leong is an independent life science professional specialising in R&D policy, strategy, funding, and public/ external affairs. Her cross-sector career spans: academia, charity/ private foundation, science funding, and industry; on senior management and global leadership teams.

Louise graduated in natural sciences from the National University of Singapore, going on to pursue a PhD in immunology at Cambridge University, focusing on activation and inactivation of the immune system. She subsequently took up a position in immunogenetics research at the Babraham Institute, while at the same time holding a college fellowship with teaching responsibilities, and an adjunct fellowship at the Institute of Molecular Agrobiology singapore. Louise broadened her scientific remit while at the Wellcome Trust in London UK, with increasing roles and responsibilities in science funding ranging from global health to multi-partner major initiatives (eg biobank, clinical research infrastructure), capacity building, clinical careers, bioethics, evaluation, and policy, including a secondment to CEO’s office. In the early years, she continued evening studies completing a postgraduate degree in Business Management and Strategy at the University of London.

Following an interest to develop her experience in translation and real-world application of science, Louise moved into industry, spending 8 years at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), most latterly as Director of R&D Policy. Achievements included creation of a public-private stem cell (hESC) partnership, co-creation with government of the first funded Life Science Strategy on behalf of the biopharma, biotech, diagnostics and medical devices industries, and initiation of a funded cross-sector strategy in personalised medicine (precision/ stratified medicine). While in industry she had a particular interest in support for a strong science base, translational medicine, open innovation (pioneered several academic-clinical-industry research collaborations bringing inward investment), new models of R&D & healthcare, big data and digital – all underpinned by collaborative working with stakeholders. She was also actively involved with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry and Associations (EFPIA), proactively serving on several committees; with hands-on policy and government affairs with EU institutions and regulation.

Louise was recruited to AstraZeneca as Director Science Relations UK & Europe based in Global Corporate Affairs, with additional roles on the extended global leadership team for Precision Medicine. Louise led for AZ on the Life Science Industrial Strategy, and Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, coordinating global heads. From AZ, she returned to science funding and policy as Director Industry and Partnerships at the MRC.

In the course of her career, Louise has served on numerous national, ministerial, and expert review committees, and is currently a Fellow and Council member/Trustee of the Royal Society of Biology. 

Dr Louise Leong
Incoming Biosciences Programme Director