Ontario is home to a diverse and thriving life sciences community. It
includes companies both large and small – multinationals and homegrown
firms – service providers, academics, students and government
officials. Life Sciences
Ontario (LSO) is the member-driven organization that proudly
represents this vast and vibrant sector.
As the organization dedicated to promoting and fostering
relationships within this community – in Ontario and nationwide – we
understand the importance of collaboration and partnership. Building
networks is our bread and butter. It’s not only our purpose, but also
our passion, to see relationships grow between industry stakeholders.
Importantly, the collaboration we encourage is not just between
corporations and industry leaders. We also support relationship
building between newcomers to the sector and mentors who can guide
them. That’s why we were proud to launch the Life
Sciences Ontario Scholarship Program.
The idea for the scholarship began when our team met at the Novo
Nordisk Canada offices in Mississauga, with members from Roche Canada
and five MPPs from the Mississauga area. During the meeting, we
discussed the impact of life sciences on Mississauga in particular, an
area that boasts a high density of industry offices in the
pharmaceutical and medical space. Nina Tangri, MPP for
Mississauga-Streetsville, was enthusiastic for better integration of
industry within the community. As the conversation unfolded, the idea
of a scholarship program was raised, and together we realized this
could be a win-win-win situation: for young people in the community;
industry leaders who will have access to bright young minds; and the
sector, as relationships are built.
The companies* who are involved aren’t just providing financial
support, they will offer mentorship, too. Students will learn from
professionals in the field, helping them make informed decisions
before choosing their career path. Thinking back to my time as a
student in the sciences at the University of Waterloo, I remember the
great value of my co-op experience. I’m excited to be helping provide
students with this same kind of opportunity, to gain real-world
experience at this crucial stage of learning.
event at Novo Nordisk Canada this spring was a hugely rewarding
day. Ontario Premier Doug Ford was in attendance, along with MPP Nina
Tangri. We were thrilled to have some of the province’s key decision
makers celebrating the incredible brilliance of Ontario’s young minds.
At the Mississauga Board of Trade event announcing the winners of the
scholarship, I was heartened to see the appreciation on the faces of
the students for the support and mentorship offered by the program.
Both days were true examples of industry groups working hand-in-hand,
in a unique way, to a hugely positive end.
Given the powerful response the scholarship received as a pilot in
Mississauga, the program will be expanded to a province-wide
initiative in 2020.
Year-round we support student learning through a mentorship program
we are incredibly proud of. For the past 30 years, LSO’s Student
Membership has provided young people with the opportunity to
network with experienced individuals in the sector. The program
utilizes the Ten Thousand Coffees platform to allow students
and mentors to connect with individuals in person or digitally. We
also host networking events, providing students a safe space to hone
their interpersonal skills with professionals in their field.
We look forward to the success of the students who participate in
the LSO Scholarship Program – this year, and beyond. One thing’s for
certain: with continued collaboration between individuals and
industry, students and professionals, companies and government, the
future of the life sciences in Ontario is bright.
* The LSO Scholarship is supported by AstraZeneca, Bayer, Gilead,
GlaxoSmithKline, Horizon Pharma, Novo Nordisk, Roche, and Sanofi Canada.