BioTalent Canada announces Finalists for the 2016 ‘Catalyst’ Award for New Biotechnology Graduates

OTTAWA, April 7, 2016 – BioTalent Canada today announced the finalists for its first annual ‘Catalyst’ Award, recognizing the young employee who has contributed most significantly to their Canadian biotechnology employer.

Throughout 2015, BioTalent Canada placed 165 new graduates in 67 biotechnology companies across Canada, with funding from the national and provincial Career Focus wage subsidy programs. Employer feedback on the contribution of these young workers has been overwhelmingly positive, prompting BioTalent Canada to launch the Catalyst Award in recognition of these talented young people.

BioTalent Canada is pleased to announce the three finalists: Travis Cranmer from Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Vineland Station, Ontario, Hannah Sadeghi from ERA Environmental Management Solutions in Montreal, Quebec, and Mathieu Poulin from Delivra in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

The Catalyst award winner will be awarded a cash prize of $1,000 and will be announced on April 26, 2016.

Travis Cranmer, Plant Pathology Biocontrol Technician

Travis, a University of Guelph graduate, works at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, a biotechnology company in Vineland Station, Ontario, delivering products and production solutions that address Canada’s horticultural needs with respect to advancing research and commercialization. As a Plant Pathology Biocontrol Technician, Travis’s role is to evaluate biological control products for suppression of soil-borne diseases in greenhouse crops. Quickly after joining Vineland’s team, Travis applied his critical thinking, learning and troubleshooting skills to successfully bring an important project back on schedule to meet research objectives that were at risk. In addition to this achievement, he designed and built innovative tools that were incorporated into Vineland’s experiments after proving to be more effective. Travis has been credited by the team as being a major contributor to meeting Vineland’s objectives.

Hannah Sadeghi, Environmental Health and Safety Project Manager – Environmental Scientist

Hannah, a Concordia University graduate, works at ERA Environmental Management Solutions, a biotechnology company in Montreal, Quebec, offering an environmental management tool that tracks and reports the flow of material within a company’s facility to create corporate-wide environmental reports. As an Environmental Scientist, Hannah is tasked to set up, test and validate ERA’s environmental software in a client’s environment and keep stakeholders apprised on current environmental regulatory reporting. Her ability to quickly hone her knowledge in multiple industry regulations has allowed ERA to enter a new market, bringing fresh opportunities to the company. Hannah’s ability to identify, analyze and mitigate complex environmental-reporting issues using ERA software mitigated financial ramifications with respect to environmental regulation and reporting. Hannah clearly demonstrated her ability to contribute to ERA’s bottom line.

Mathieu Poulin, Research and Development Technician

Mathieu, a Collège Shawinigan graduate, works at Delivra, a biotechnology company in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, producing a transdermal delivery system introducing bioactive compounds into the body in a non-invasive method. As a Research and Development Technician, Mathieu actively participated in a multi-disciplinary research program that enabled the organization to secure funding from Canada’s National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program. In collaboration with a fellow scientist, Mathieu used his innovative approach to develop two complementary bioassays to quickly and clearly assess the drug efficacy of new bioactives. With the success of these bioassays, new operating procedures will be incorporated into other Delivra research programs. Mathieu has also been credited for lowering consumable costs by finding inexpensive and effective alternatives to various laboratory equipment and products. Also cited was his ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with a diverse and globally widespread team.

Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada is pleased to highlight these young biotechnology stars. “Young talent is the future of Canada’s bio-economy. We are thrilled to recognize these young innovators and the valuable work that they are doing for their employers.”

BioTalent Canada has a long track record of successful implementation of wage-subsidy programs, helping new talent find employment in the biotechnology industry and assisting companies in offsetting the costs of hiring. Since 2005, BioTalent Canada has helped over 400 new biotechnology graduates find a job in the bio-economy.

Wage subsidies are a great way to jumpstart careers within biotechnology. According to BioTalent Canada’s labour market report on recent graduates, Opening the Door, 90% of Career Focus wage subsidy program participants are still employed full-time after completing the program.

The Winner of the 2016 Catalyst Award will be announced on April 26, 2016.