Treasure from deep diving the biotechnology web
Submission to the panel for the Review of Federal Support to Research & Development
Colette Rivet, Executive Director, BioTalent CanadaS
To realize the enormous economic potential of the bio-economy—in terms of job creation, GDP and competitiveness—Canada has to continue to create stronger connections between companies seeking
workers and individuals seeking work. It has to raise awareness of the bio-economy so that young people
see opportunities for themselves in it, and so workers in traditional industries recognize the field is much
wider for them than they are used to thinking. And perhaps most importantly, Canada has to not only
make the necessary linkages but also back them up with a support structure that bridges identified gaps
and builds capacity.
Scientific American began its 2010 Worldview Scorecard by observing that “Biotechnology around the world changes constantly.” This has certainly been the Canadian experience since BioTalent CanadaTM was created in 1997 as the Biotechnology Human Resource Council.
The most significant change to date has been the definition of the sector itself. Thirteen years ago, biotechnology focused on exploring the basic practicality of applying technology to living organisms and their biological components (e.g., DNA, RNA). Today the work has moved on. We know biotechnology is effective, and research has proven its potential applications are virtually unlimited. Companies are now focused on using biotechnology to develop solutions for a wide range of markets and industries. A single biotechnology firm might be active in both wood products and bioenergy, or animal health and nutraceuticals, or food safety and human health. Eighty percent of Canada’s biotechnology companies serve more than one subsector market.
This is why the industry itself has adopted the broad, inclusive term ‘bio-economy’ to describe the space it operates in: because the applications of biotechnology play across nearly every traditional industrial sector and subsector. Biotechnology is the application of science and technology to living organisms. It is comprised of such core technologies as DNA/RNA applications, protein and peptides/enzymes, cell and tissue culture and engineering, gene and RNA vectors, bioinformatics, nanobiotechnology, process
biotechnologies, and sub-cellular processes
Click here for more of this informative white paper.
Another older but interesting reference can be found here: The Canadian Biotechnology Innovation Scoreboard 2006.