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10th annual national biotech week held in saskatchewan

September 20 to 27 saw the 10th annual National Biotechnology Week featuring more than 50 events across Canada in every province. The week provides an opportunity for the industry to celebrate its achievements, communicate with the public and collaborate.

Biotechnology is defined as “the use of biological processes, organisms, or systems to manufacture products intended to improve the quality of human life” and plays a crucial role in industries such as vaccine development, agriculture and sustainable energy. Ag-West Bio, located at Innovation Place in Saskatoon, coordinates Biotech Week activities in Saskatchewan.

Events in Saskatoon and Regina included a family friendly DNA Weekend; a Food Myth Busters TweetUp; a panel discussion hosted by the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce on the importance of innovation in healthcare; a public lecture at the Broadway Theatre by Mark Lynas that drew more than 350 people; a networking event by StartUp Drinks; tours at the Canadian Light Source; and of course, the Amazing Biotech Race at Innovation Place. The week wrapped up with the 4th Annual Biotech & Beer event at Boffins Club.

Food Myth Busters TweetUp

This event took on the unique form of a tweetup, where food experts active on social media met face to face and answered questions through Twitter. Participants tweeted the panel questions using the hashtag #FoodMyths and received answers to questions about nutrition, health and trends. Exchanges developed between experts as the larger scientific community began to take notice and join in the online fun.

See some of the tweet exchanges that took place.

The Amazing Biotech Race

Teams made up of students from the SIAST BioScience Technology program and three high schools competed in a set up mimicking the popular television show.

The creatively costumed teams were tasked with completing various activities at eight companies in and around Innovation Place - AdeTherapeutics, Contango Strategies, Dow AgroSciences, Viterra, Canadian Light Source, POS Bio-Sciences, Saskatchewan Research Council and Ag-West Bio.

After completing an activity, teams had to follow instructions and figure out clues that would lead them to the next challenge. The first team to complete six of the eight challenges was crowned the winners at Biotech & Beer later that evening.

The winning teams were:

  • First - Team Nose Bros
  • Second - Team Disco Ninjas
  • Third - Team Hippotechs

Amazing Biotech Race contestants brave the wet weather

Biotech & Beer

The 4th Annual Biotech & Beer event wrapped up National Biotechnology Week with burgers, beer and the Amazing Biotech Race trophy presentation.

Colleen Christensen, University of Saskatchewan Feeds Innovation Institute, and Monika Polewicz, Ag-West Bio, offered career and networking advice to the students, sharing stories of their own professional developmen

Saskatoon’s Mayor Don Atchison spoke to students about the need for innovation and their importance to the future of the province.

Learn more about National Biotech Week activities across the country at

- October 2013

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