by Heidi Riley
The PEI Bioscience cluster is the location of choice for companies engaged in the research, development, and commercialization of bioactive-based human, animal, and fish health and nutrition products.
Since 2005, the Bioscience cluster has more than tripled in size, with remarkable growth in business revenues and employment, and a marked increase in private and public-sector investments in those companies. The Bioscience industry is growing rapidly on PEI.
In March 2022, the Bioscience Manufacturing Incubator opened in the Biocommons Park in Charlottetown. In addition, funding was announced to purchase equipment for the CASTL training, upskilling, and reskilling program to help students enter biomanufacturing jobs.
The PEI cluster includes the following:
- over 60 bioscience companies
- several research institutions
- Emergence – Canada’s virtual Bioscience Business Incubator
- Natural Products Canada, North America’s first business accelerator dedicated to the commercialization of products and technologies based on natural product chemistry.
PEI bioscience companies are located in Charlottetown, Summerside, Victoria, Kensington, and Souris. Click here to see the list of companies. You can link to their individual websites where they feature details of their organizations.
You can also read the latest news about the PEI bioscience cluster here
Hiring needs of PEI bioscience companies
About 2,200 employees work in the PEI Bioscience sector, and the goal is to reach 3,000 by 2025.
The PEI BioAlliance promotes around 350 career opportunities annually on behalf of companies in the PEI bioscience cluster.
- Highest number of jobs are in Engineering/Production – eg. Production Technicians, Process Development
- Quality Assurance/Control
- Scientist/Researcher – such as Lab Technicians, Chemists
- Business and Administration roles – such as HR, Business Admin, Accounting
Experience or skills needed
“There is a misperception that most Bioscience jobs require a PhD, but that is not the case,” says Vivian Beer, HR, Manager, HR Strategy.
“Experience and skills vary, but generally opportunities are available for talent with all educational levels, from high school on up. Look through the current roles being advertised to see the variety of opportunities and the skills required.”
Most positions are full-time and many require regular daytime hours, Monday to Friday. Some production roles have rotating shifts.
Bioscience careers offer excellent salaries and benefits, which are unique to each company. “Individual companies have onboarding programs and offer mentorship to ensure that you progress well in your job,” says Vivian.
Do Bioscience companies hire international students who have valid work permits?
Yes, companies are definitely interested in hiring international students. The Graduate Mentorship Program is now available to help subsidize your employment. For summer/term employment, the Post-secondary Student program is also open to international students.
An initiative of the PEI BioAlliance, the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) provides world-class technical skills development and training in life sciences specializing in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
CASTL is the exclusive provider of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) licensed training programs in Canada. Based in Ireland, NIBRT develops and delivers state-of-the-art training and education programs for the world’s leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing companies.
CASTL will deliver this theoretical and practical hands-on training curriculum to a broad range of learners from new post-secondary students to experienced industry professionals. In Fall 2022, CASTL will open its first biopharmaceutical manufacturing training facility in Charlottetown offering hands-on and specialized training experiences for learners.
On PEI, CASTL has collaborated with academic partners including UPEI and Holland College to offer academic and customized training streams for those interested in working in bioscience. Work terms with bioscience companies are also available as part of the programs.
How to apply to a bioscience position
All current open positions are advertised on the PEI BioAlliance Careers page here
To request to join the career news mailing list to be notified of all recent job postings, click here
“If you see a job of interest on the PEI BioAlliance Careers page, apply directly to the company that is advertising that role. When you click the “apply” button, it will offer a full job description followed by directions on applying for the position. Don’t worry if you don’t meet the complete list of qualifications.”
Vivian advises job seekers to be aware of wage subsidy programs that could help fund your employment. In your cover letter, identify the ones that apply to you. Here are a few:
- BioTalent Canada (SWPP)
- Skills PEI Graduate Mentorship Program (for domestic and international students)
- Post-Secondary Student Program (for domestic and international students)
If you wish to discuss the variety of roles in the bioscience cluster and how you can connect to these jobs, contact Vivian Beer, PEI BioAlliance, at [email protected]
Vivian can provide you with key contacts for individual companies that would be a good match for your career. She will also add your resumé to the Resumé Bank, where it can be seen by bioscience employers.
This information is part of a recent job fair hosted by the UPEI Experiential Education department.