All posts by Andrew Byrne

Healthcare organizations are now eligible to apply for student wage subsidies

Andrew Byrne January 12, 2021










BioTalent Canada’s Student Work Placement Program is now open to the healthcare sector. Canada’s healthcare industry has a growing need to produce job-ready healthcare workers. There are 1,500 open spots available in 2020-21. For more information, visit

Want to know the benefits of hiring students using this wage subsidy? View the PDF below!

BioTalent-Canada-SWPP-benefits-of-hiring-a-co-op-Bioscience_Health – 22JULY2020

If you want to know more, make sure you check out our info webinar co-sponsored by our good friends at BioNova and PEI BioAlliance here: SWPP Webinar

If you would like to apply, simply reach out to BioNB’s Marketing and Communications Director, Andrew Byrne at


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LuminUltra and the Value of Investing in Bioscience

Andrew Byrne December 1, 2020

As it continues to grow, Fredericton based company LuminUltra doesn’t just demonstrate that New Brunswick often punches well above its weight, it showcases the value of investing in the biosciences and the bioeconomy. Yesterday, they announced the acquisition of Source Molecular, “a leader in lab-based testing solutions for microbial source tracking of pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

The announcement on November 30th that the local company has just acquired the Miami based biotech company, is just the latest in a string of newsworthy announcements involving a New Brunswick bioscience champion.

Back in April, Prime Minister Trudeau announced their investment in LuminUltra to help support their scale-up, enabling them to supply 500,000 COVID-19 tests per week to the country’s health authorities. Since then, LuminUltra has announced continued growth, evidenced by their new product launches, filed patents and the explosion of their jobs board.

Their ability to respond to the Prime Minister’s call-to-action immediately and the subsequent federal investment is just another case study of the benefits attained when governments invest in the bioscience sectors. We look forward to following the growth of LuminUltra as they help in the fight against COVID-19 and all the other bioscience companies in New Brunswick as they help innovate and grow our bioeconomy. You can read the full LuminUltra release here.

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BioNB, and Then There Were 6

Andrew Byrne November 26, 2020








BioNB is pleased to announce that Meaghan Seagrave has returned to the helm of BioNB as Executive Director. During her secondment to 1812 Hemp, she grew a start up company in a heavily regulated nascent sector.

With the cannabis sector rationalizing and undergoing significant regulatory changes, 1812 Hemp will be paused as BioNB focuses on growing the sector’s ancillary opportunities.









BioNB would like to thank Jennifer O’Donnell for stepping into the role of Interim Executive Director in June 2019, where she successfully led a newly expanded team through a tumultuous time for the NB economy. Jenn will assume the role of Senior Project Officer for BioNB, retaining many of her project and partnership development responsibilities while supporting the Executive Director.

Stay up to date on all of BioNB’s activities by either signing up to our Newsletter, or following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Research and Reality in the Cannabis Industry (Pathways to Careers in Cannabis Research)

Andrew Byrne November 16, 2020

In the beginning of October, we had the pleasure of attending the “Pathways to Careers in Cannabis” webinar. A group comprised of both UNB and international students of all levels and disciplines were invited to join Danielle Connell, UNB’s Mitacs representative to learn about the opportunities available to students interested in studying cannabis. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about efforts here in New Brunswick to create internship and career paths and ways to access funding to conduct cannabis research at home (NB) and abroad (The Netherlands, or NL) while enrolled at UNB.

Speakers included Dr. Arno Hazekamp, Co-chair of the Legal Cannabis Coalition (LCC) in The Netherlands, Danielle Connell and Dr. Andrien Rackov, a leading research scientist at the Research and Productivity Council (RPC) here in Fredericton, NB.

Danielle has been a part of the many cohorts going back and forth to the Netherlands to create opportunities around horticulture and more recently and specifically, cannabis. She has been there for all the ups and downs of the industry and helping student researchers achieve their local and international research goals along the way.

Dr. Arno Hazekamp has been working in the cannabis industry since around 2009 when he began working with the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine. He would go on to work with the Netherlands’ only legal producer of cannabis, Bedrocan and finally created his own consultancy in 2016, which lead to him being a Co-Founder of the Legal Cannabis Coalition

Andrien Rackov has been working with RPC ever since his Mitacs internship during his time at UNB. RPC has been an instrumental part of the research and testing ecosystem for cannabis producers in Canada for the past decade and it currently analyzes roughly 40% of all cannabis tested in the country.

We were pleased with the very large turnout of students and industry participants interested in the cannabis industry (it needs them) and by the mention of the Legal Cannabis Coalition and New Brunswick’s connection to them; for more on that visit:

Danielle discussed several Mitacs internship programs, but the main focus was the Globalink program, which will be the vehicle to mobilize the first cohort of cannabis interns. Globalink is a purely academic program meant to build and strengthen academic connections between universities in New Brunswick and the Netherlands. The program is open to senior undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows of ANY DISCIPLINE. “We’re talking research in all disciplines in cannabis”.
















While the Mitacs portion was straight forward, Arno’s discussions were broader and at times, philosophical. He began by showcasing that traditional industries have a straightforward pipeline model, while cannabis does not.














Cannabis is so much more than just a flower. Arno’s message was to showcase the various opportunities available to students and researchers in the cannabis industry; and there were many. Discussing the importance of knowing what you want to do and where you want to go was a central theme. Cannabis may seem like an exciting opportunity for youth, and it is, but Arno wanted to temper expectations for the long-term satisfaction you can achieve by working in a lab or a grow room.

Cannabis is currently a catalyst for the much larger, socially relevant and multi-disciplinary conversations. BioNB and many of the attendees work in scientific fields, but that does not mean those in other fields such as the social sciences should not be a part of the conversation with us. “What is legal and what should be?” asks Arno rhetorically. Do we want “cannabis Walmarts” in an industry that has been historically driven by small scale cultivators? What is in cannabis vapor when smoked in a joint vs smoked in a vaporizer? These questions and hundreds more present the gargantuan opportunity for research in the cannabis industry.















Andrien then spoke about his path to RPC, which started as a Mitacs internship and now that RPC is expanding, Andrien mentioned, his team are looking to fill a newly created position at RPC for a postdoc specializing in molecular/microbiology. This will be the first of many Mitacs internships in the cannabis ecosystem.

There are many applied research projects at RPC, and it’s hard to succinctly discuss just how much they do to advance our understanding of cannabis, but we feel as though they did a great job of that in the photo below.












In a very direct, breath of fresh air kind of way, Arno ended the presentations by briefly discussing the myths and realities of cannabis and the industry in order to mitigate expectations. As we mentioned, cannabis may seem like an exciting opportunity for youth, and it is, but there are many things to take into consideration. By taking part in an internship BEFORE graduation, students are exposed to the ecosystem so that they will have an understanding of the gaps that need to be filled. The benefits are two-fold as you will have a full year of experience under your belt, better preparing you to enter the cannabis workforce.



























As with any industry, the roads are not all paved in gold. We have all seen in the news, the industry reacted too quickly, government moved too slowly in some jurisdictions and the misalignments and the unknowns have cost people a lot of money. Lessons have been learned though and are being applied to future decision making, especially the implementation of scientific rigour to ensure safety, consistency and actionable data.

This is just the beginning. The 1st cohort will begin their work in the NB-NL network as early as Spring 2021. The following cohorts will involve industry partnerships on both sides of the Atlantic.

If you would like to connect with anybody from this webinar, feel free to reach out to BioNB’s Marketing and Communications Director, Andrew Byrne, at

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Announcement of Changes in BioNB’s Board of Directors

Andrew Byrne October 23, 2020

On Thursday, October 22nd, 2020, BioNB held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). There were several changes in our Board of Directors that we would like to acknowledge and highlight.

Firstly, the entire board and staff of BioNB would like to thank Dr. Murray McLaughlin, who stepped down from the Board of Directors after 16 years of service, which includes his roles as President, Chairperson and Director, in this volunteer role. Dr. McLaughlin brought valuable expertise to the organization and had an impact on the growth of the bioeconomy in New Brunswick and the organizational growth of BioNB. We wish him all the best as he continues to champion the bioeconomy throughout the country.

Pat Whalen, LuminUltra’s President and CEO, has been our Chairperson for 3 years and today we are announcing that he is stepping from the Chair role, but remaining on as a board member. Before taking on the role of Chairperson of the Board, Pat was a Director for one year and a Vice-Chairperson for 3 years. We thank him for his leadership throughout his tenure and we are excited to see him stay on as his support will continue to be invaluable.

We are pleased to announce that Dr. David Magee, Vice-President (Research), University of New Brunswick has been appointed the new Chairperson of the Board of BioNB and Brennan Sisk, Co-Founder, Mycodev Group, will be the Vice-Chair.

This is an exciting time for BioNB as we pursue the development of several sectors in the bioeconomy and continue to help companies grow and commercialize their bioscience ideas. We know that with the board’s help, BioNB will continue to grow and bring the bioeconomy to the forefront of New Brunswick’s industries, thereby making this province a more resilient and innovative player on the world stage. We thank both David and Brennan for accepting these nominations and we are thrilled to see what the future holds.

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Global Biotech Week

Andrew Byrne September 29, 2020

BioNB is a proud supporter of BIOTECanada’s Global Biotech Week 2020. This year has been unlike any Biotech Week before it. Biotech was a growth sector before COVID-19, but with this crisis at our doorstep, biotech in Canada has stepped up to the plate to help Canadians get through this. Through our BioDesign partnership, we along with BIOTECanada and several other organizations have been developing a roadmap forward for Canada’s bioeconomy and biotech plays a big role in it. 

You can find out more about BIOTECanada and #GBW2020 here: and you can either find events taking place across the nation or have your biotech event listed on their website. 


About Global Biotech Week 







Canada was the first country to originate a national Biotech Week back in 2003. What began as a modest advocacy and awareness string of events experience where provincial partners gathered grew into a national success story which gained traction and snowballed to encouraging EuropaBio to establish their own annual week of events in 2013. Today whether in United States, Europe, Australia, Canada or elsewhere, biotech innovation is becoming increasingly central to the global competitiveness of the industries and sectors that form the economic foundation of economies. 

The purpose of Global Biotech Week is to raise awareness of the industry and its global potential among policymakers, policy influencers and the general public more broadly. All countries are invited to join in on the celebration and use Global Biotech Week to showcase their country’s success and the industry’s global significance.  

For more information or to take part, contact Andrew Byrne at 

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Canada BioDesign Conference 2020

Andrew Byrne September 28, 2020

At the beginning of September, we along with our other BioDesign partners, FPAC, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, BioNB, BIOTECanada and FPInnovations held our 3rd BioDesign Conference.

As you are already aware, this conference as well as all others had to pivot to an online format because of COVID-19. The presentations and ensuing conversations were so interesting that we created a YouTube channel just for the video recordings.

You can find all 3 days over at YouTube

Who is BioDesign?

BioDesign is an industry-led consortium of companies, associations, academic and research institutions from several sectors that is focused on using the potential of Canada’s natural resources to accelerate Canada’s transition to a sustainable, low-carbon society. Its advocates believe that a new global biomass-based industry is evolving, that the industry will grow rapidly, and that Canada has a unique opportunity to participate and lead the development of this new industry as a key participant.

Make sure to like and subscribe so that you have access to all of BioDesign’s future recordings as well.

Do you or your organization have questions about Canada’s Bioeconomy, the strategy we helped writ or how we can help? Contact us today at

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The Ocean Startup Project presents: Ocean Innovators Workshop

Andrew Byrne August 6, 2020

August 13th
About the Ocean Innovators meetup series

The Ocean Innovators Meetup offers an opportunity for the ocean community and those interested in the marine sector to come together, share innovative ideas and create new connections. This summer, the Ocean Startup Project will host an Ocean Innovators Meetup event series in collaboration with Pisces Research Project Management. The upcoming events will each feature a theme that focuses on an ocean sector highlighted in our Ocean Startup Challenge competition, which is set to launch the first week of June.

About the Ocean Startup Project

The Ocean Startup Project, driven by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, is a pan-Atlantic collaboration between Creation Destruction Lab, Genesis, Innovacorp, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, PEI BioAlliance, and Springboard Atlantic. The Project is an ambitious 24-month strategy to create and grow ocean technology companies through a number of initiatives, such as industry innovation and technology problem identification; engage cafes and bootcamps; Ocean startup challenge competition; a university lab-to-market program; and CDL’s ocean stream.


Social content

Meetup #4 – Thursday, August 13: Register


Before August 13:
Join @oceanstartup on August 13 for their Ocean Innovators Meetup! To be apart of breakout sessions where you’ll have the opportunity to discuss what you are working on, and make new connections in the ocean sector!
Save your space today: Anytime:
Are you interested in ocean technology? Join @oceanstartup for the next Ocean Innovators meetup to create connections, share innovative ideas and learn about the supports available to help you develop your idea. Learn more:



Before August 13:
Join @oceanstartup on August 13 for their Ocean Innovators Meetup! Connect with fellow ocean innovators during breakout sessions to discuss what you are working on, share ideas and expand your ocean network. Register:

Are you interested in ocean technology? Join @oceanstartup for the next Ocean Innovators meetup to create connections, share innovative ideas and learn about the supports available to help you develop your idea. Learn more :


Before August 13:
Join @oceanstartup on August 13 for their Ocean Innovators Meetup! During the meetup, you’ll take part in breakout sessions where you’ll have the opportunity to discuss what you are working on, share ideas and expand your ocean network! If you want to explore opportunities in the #oceaneconomy register for the Ocean Startup Project’s meetup by heading over to their profile and clicking the link in their bio.

#OceanTech #Entrepreneurship #AtlanticCanada #Webinar #Learning #Business #BlueEconomy #collaboration #Technology #Innovation #Ideas

Have you thought about starting an ocean technology company? Join @oceanstartup for their Ocean Innovators Meetup series to create connections, share innovative ideas and learn about the supports available to help you develop your idea. Learn more at

#OceanTech #Entrepreneurship #AtlanticCanada #Webinar #Learning #Ideas #BlueEconomy #collaboration #Technology #Innovation

Promotional assets

You can also help the OSC promote the meetup by heading to the links below.

Please use assets and graphics located here. If you have questions or experience issues accessing the folder, reach out to

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Bioeconomy Youth Champions

Andrew Byrne August 4, 2020

The International Advisory Council on Global Bioeconomy (IAC) is looking for young champions motivated to engage with the global bioeconomy youth during the virtual Global Bioeconomy Summit 2020, 16th – 20th November 2020.

What’s the aim of the call?

The objective of this call is to bring together an eclectic and geographically diverse leadership group of young people, from across the globe, who will act as ambassadors for the bioeconomy at GBS2020. These ambassadors will help represent the diversity of the young global bioeconomy community at GBS2020.

Possible Outputs during GBS2020:

  • Organizing a 2-hour youth session in advance of the Summit to connect inspiring young people from around the world to exchange opinions and engage in an open dialogue on global bioeconomy development
  • Developing a youth statement on the theme of GBS2020
  • Developing a report on youth concerns, motivations, actions, approaches and demands for global bioeconomy development

What are the benefits?

Ambassadors will get the chance to participate in GBS2020 and to present their work to an international and expert audience.

Who can apply?

Young people with a strong interest in global bioeconomy development, e.g. high school and college students, young researchers and academics, young professionals, policymakers and entrepreneurs, young non-profit leaders, journalists and social media influencers.

The applicants are required to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Between the ages of 18-35
  • Strong command of English
  • Interest in global bioeconomy development
  • High school and college students, young researchers and academics, young professionals, policymakers and entrepreneurs, young non-profit leaders, journalists and social media influencers
  • Eligible Regions: Open for all

Selection Process

All applications received will be evaluated by a jury. The jury is composed of the following IAC Members:

  • Roman Brenne, Policy Officer at European Commission, DG Research & Innovation, Bioeconomy and Food Systems Unit
  • Achim Dobermann, Chief Scientist of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA)
  • Elspeth MacRae, Chief Innovation and Science Officer at SCION
  • Adrián Rodriguez, Chief of the Agricultural Development Unit of the UN Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC)
  • Flora Ismail Tibazarwa, Program Director for the Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2)

The jury will select 5 – 7 ambassadors from across the globe. The jury strives for a broad variety of views and people (e.g. in terms of expertise and background, gender, nationality, career stage).
Applicants are asked to provide a brief (about 1 page) profile to present her-/himself including background and interest in bioeconomy, career stage, a short proposal for their specific output during GBS2020 and ideas on how to foster a global bioeconomy youth community after GBS2020. Candidates will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the jury. Jury decisions will be final. Candidates will be contacted by e-mail.

Applications will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • formal requirements mentioned above
  • demonstration of the interest in the bioeconomy, regardless of professional experience
  • ideas for output during and after GBS2020
  • creativity

Further requirements:

  • Submission: Candidates may submit only one application. They will be asked to submit their work electronically to the Conference Office of the Global Bioeconomy Summit (e-mail: All submissions must bear the name and the (e-mail) address. Submission language is English.
  • Deadline: All entries must be submitted by 1 September 2020.
  • Format: Entries can be submitted in the following format: 1-page Word or PDF document

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North Taste Flavourings wins the $25,000 START[2020] Competition

Andrew Byrne July 16, 2020




For Release on June 16, 2020 – 10:00 AM

Contact: Sebastian Green

Phone: (902) 414-2585


North Taste Flavourings wins the $25,000 START[2020] Competition.

[Atlantic Canada, July 14, 2020] IGNITE, The Nova Scotia Innovation Hub, BioNB, Innovacorp, Bioenterprise, and Emergence are pleased to announce the winner of START[2020], a bioresource innovation pitch competition for entrepreneurs, startups, and existing businesses across Atlantic Canada.

Hosted as part of the virtual Atlantic BIOCON series, START[2020] saw five finalists pitch for a chance to win. The organizing team sourced leaders in the bioresource space to judge the competition and the panel included; Mark St. Onge – Small Foods, Shelley King – Natural Products Canada, Eddie Francis – Emergence, Dave Smardon – Bioenterprise, and Murray McLaughlin – McLaughlin Consultants.

North Taste Flavourings will be taking home the $25,000 prize package for their innovative manufacturing process to create nano-materials derived from shell waste. For decades, North Taste has been operating as a secondary seafood processor, manufacturing all-natural seafood concentrates from marine by-product material obtained from Atlantic Canada primary seafood processors. With the help of START[2020] they will be expanding on these processes to create even more value from existing waste streams.

The START[2020] competition is a partnership between IGNITE, The Innovation Hub, BioNB, Innovacorp, and BioEnterprise, with support from Emergence, to support bioresource innovation in Atlantic Canada and to highlight current innovators in the ecosystem.

To learn more about North Taste Flavourings you can visit

To see a recorded version of the pitch competition you can visit

“START[2020] was created to build an ecosystem of sustainable innovation in Atlantic Canada and to help entrepreneurs, startups, and existing businesses bring their ideas to reality. This competition also represents collaborative, inter-provincial, partnerships between IGNITE, The Nova Scotia Innovation Hub, BioNB, Innovacorp, Bioenterprise, and Emergence who are all making positive change possible.” – Sebastian Green, Northern Regional Manager, IGNITE

“Biosresource innovation is key to a cleaner and more sustainable economy here in Atlantic Canada. The Nova Scotia Innovation Hub is pleased to work with our partners at IGNITE and BioNB on START[2020] to encourage early stage ideas and support the commercialization efforts of these innovative finalists.” – Rod Baddock, Executive Director – Nova Scotia Innovation Hub

“New Brunswick has a long history of bioresource innovation and traditional industry innovation. The five finalists represented the best innovators in the bioresource economy in Atlantic Canada and BioNB is excited to work with them and support their further growth even after the START[2020] competition.” – Jennifer O’Donnell, Executive Director – BioNB

“Marine and terrestrial bioresources, including waste streams and co-products, are still an untapped source of sustainable, functional, bio-based products for applications across human, animal, and fish health and nutrition, bio-materials and bio-energy. Atlantic Canada is quickly developing the infrastructure, expertise, and commercial value chains to turn these opportunities into business successes.” – Rory Francis, CEO – PEI BioAlliance

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