Canada’s Knowledge Economy Poised to Benefit from a Highly-skilled Workforce in the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Field

May 26, 2020 (Ottawa) – Today, Canada’s Stem Cell Network (SCN) released a study entitled, Training Tomorrow’s Research Leaders, outlining the impacts of nearly 20 years of targeted skills training on Canada’s emergent regenerative medicine sector. The impact analysis tracked 1,500 current and former SCN trainees (Masters, PhDs and Postdoctoral Fellows) to determine the value of SCN training and where their career paths have taken them. An overwhelming 82% have chosen to pursue careers in Canada, with a significant number of women taking on high-quality jobs within the growing biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.

Canada is well positioned to be an active player in the global regenerative medicine sector, which is currently valued at USD $28 billion and is expected to grow in the coming years. Canada’s ability to capitalize in this market requires a skilled workforce ready and able to drive innovation. By utilizing training support from SCN and its partners, network trainees have developed the advanced and practical skills needed to succeed and ensure Canada remains competitive. They are also well equipped to respond and pivot to address immediate health research priorities, such as COVID-19.

SCN’s Scientific Director & CEO, Dr. Michael Rudnicki commented, “At a time when the world is in a global fight against COVID-19, our researchers and trainees are quickly applying their knowledge and expertise by developing novel therapies and deepening our understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We are proud that our training programs are equipping our research community to respond as public health requires.”

The Stem Cell Network has provided training since 2001, during which time over 3,000 people have taken advantage of specialized opportunities to prepare them to successfully navigate careers within academia and business. Some of the key observations of the SCN impact analysis include:

  • 82% of SCN trainees have chosen to remain in Canada and have found employment relevant to their academic background;
  • 58% of SCN trainees are working in universities, hospitals or research institutes;
  • 25% of SCN trainees are employed in the private sector, including biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies;
  • 55% of trainees identify as female and are more likely to work outside of universities; and
  • 61% of SCN trainees who work in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical sector are female.

As part of the impact analysis, a survey was also conducted and those who responded credit SCN training opportunities with building their professional networks and providing mentoring that have been key to establishing career paths.

“The training that I received has been first class. As a stem cell student in Canada, there are limited resources available. SCN has not only provided me with training in this critical area but helped me to connect with top experts who are providing invaluable mentoring and career support,” said Joshua Dierolf, a PhD Candidate at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Overall, the impact analysis demonstrates that SCN’s training programs are providing important value and ensuring the next generation are well equipped to succeed and deliver social, health and economic benefits for Canada.

The full study and summary fact sheets can be found at: stemcellnetwork.ca/about-us/reports


About the Stem Cell Network
Tomorrow’s health is here. The Stem Cell Network (SCN) is a national non-profit that supports stem cell and regenerative medicine research, training the next generation of highly qualified personnel, and delivering outreach activities across Canada. SCN’s goal is to advance science from the lab to the clinic for the benefit of Canadians. SCN has been supported by the Government of Canada since inception in 2001. This strategic funding, valued at over $100M has benefitted approximately 175 world-class research groups and 3,000 trainees and has catalyzed 24 clinical trials and the spin out of numerous companies. stemcellnetwork.ca

Media contact:
Cate Murray
Executive Director & COO