Teens mentored by some of Canada’s premier biotechnology academics and scientists have created life-changing discoveries
Celebrating 21 Years
More than 200 of Canada’s most gifted high school and CEGEP students and their mentors, teachers and parents, will come together for the 2014 “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)”, Canada’s only national biotechnology competition with mentors from Canada’s top universities and research institutes. The first regional competition launches in Montreal on March 27, followed by eight more regional competitions across the nation during April and May, and concludes at the Partners In Research National Awards (PIRNA) in Ottawa on May 23, 2014.
This year, more than 200 proposals were received from high school and CEGEP students from Victoria to Saskatoon to St. John’s, focused on biotechnology fields of discovery and study. Working closely with mentors, these students have conducted research in diverse areas such as telomeres, diabetes, stress management, Alzheimer’s, autism and pulp production. The program is one response to Canada’s national priority of encouraging skills development, education and jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.
Now in its 21st year, over 4,700 high school students across Canada have participated in the “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)”. Inspired by the question “How will you change the world?”, these Canadian teens have created astounding and life-changing scientific discoveries, many of which have been patented and commercialized. The majority of students who compete go on to pursue careers in science and biotechnology.
“Thanks to the SBCC, I was able to explore research that could potentially save lives down the road. The notion that a kid’s idea can make such an impact inspires me to keep going and perservere, which is why I’m returning to the competiton this year,” said 2013 SBCC National Winner Arjun Nair, 16. Arjun did university graduate-level research into an experimental therapy that deploys nano-particles of gold in the fight against cancer. Mentored at the University of Calgary, his research advances an experimental cancer “photothermal therapy” which involves injecting a patient with gold nanoparticles. The particles accumulate in tumours, forming so-called “nano-bullets” that can be heated to kill cancer cells and make the promising treatment more effective.
Comments from SBCC’s National Coordinator
Kevin Cougler, Executive Director, Partners In Research, which coordinates the program, commented: “As an organization that specializes in forging partnerships between academia, business and government, we are proud to partner with the Sanofi Group in Canada to cultivate the immense talent and potential of our young people, particularly in STEM, which is vital to Canadian innovation.”
- Montreal, QC (March 27)
- Winnipeg, MB (April 22)
- Vancouver, BC (April 17)
- Edmonton, AB (April 28)
- Saskatoon, SK (April 28)
- Southwestern Ontario/Guelph, ON (May 1)
- Toronto, ON (April 29)
- Eastern Ontario/Ottawa, ON (April 28)
- Atlantic Canada/Sackville, NB (April 29)
The winners of each regional competition will present their work at the national competition, held at the headquarters of the National Research Council in Ottawa on May 22, 2014. The first place winner of the “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)” will advance to the International BioGENEius Challenge held in San Diego, CA on June 22-25, in conjunction with the BIO Annual International Convention. For a full schedule of dates, locations and judges, click here.
Comments from the Sanofi Leadership Team
Mark Lievonen, President, Sanofi Pasteur Canada, which helped establish the competition in 1993, explains: “Even after more than 20 years of the SBCC, I am simply astounded by the life-changing discoveries that these young students make, and the power of science. Thanks to the collaboration between industry, government and academia, the SBCC fosters a culture of innovation in Canada, ultimately accelerating Canadian competitiveness and productivity. Programs like this are essential to shape and cultivate the next generation of leaders.”
Jon Fairest, CEO of Sanofi Canada, said: “This competition wouldn’t be possible without the invaluable support given to the students by research mentors coming from some of Canada’s premier research institutes and universities. Those mentors along with dedicated teachers, Canada’s regional life sciences leaders, and the SBCC’s valued government and industry sponsors are passionate about developing the young talent participating in SBCC. Sanofi is proud to partner with them to harness for the next generation of biopharmaceutical scientific discovery.”
About the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)
The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) is a national, biotechnology research competition that encourages high school and CEGEP students to pursue future studies and careers in the exciting field of biotechnology. Coordinated by Partners In Research, the initiative is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur Limited, Sanofi Canada, the Ontario Government (Ministry of Research & Innovation), York University, the National Research Council Canada/Conseil national de recherches Canada (NRC-CNRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research/Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (CIHR-IRSC) and Genome Canada.
To Learn More:
Partners In Research