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The EY Award for Socially Responsible Initiatives

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The Astellas Innovation Challenge

by Astellas Pharma EMEA

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 create 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, MemoryStar, 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

Astellas’ Innovation Challenge is a fantastic initiative based on UK school children and is engaging and relevant, with great coverage. It is an excellent programme, engaging a high number of employees.


Highly commended

Action on Fistula - by Astellas Pharma EMEA
with support from Forster Communications


The Astellas Innovation Challenge - by Astellas Pharma EMEA

Johnson & Johnson's wide-reaching CSR strategy - by Johnson & Johnson

#IGiveA campaign - by RB (Reckitt Benckiser)
with support from Tonic Life Communications

Key dates

Entry deadline 26 August 2022
Extended entry deadline 2 September 2022*
*additional fee applies
Judging Day 6 October 2022
Company/Team of the Year Interviews 21 October 2022
PMEA Event 23 November 2022