At Sanofi Canada, we are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Canadians nationwide, which starts with fostering the next generation of talent. We believe everyone deserves an opportunity to embrace scientific discovery, regardless of their socio-economic background or cultural heritage, which is why the Sanofi Biogenius Canada program was launched 30 years ago.
As Canada’s leading science initiative, the Sanofi Biogenius Canada program encourages students to break barriers and explore real-life STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) research ideas. The program has two main parts: a competition and a grant, both of which are designed to support and encourage more young people in Canada to access and participate in quality STEM education.
The program initially began with the launch of the Sanofi Biogenius Canada Competition – a competition that celebrates the best research projects from students across the country with a focus on health sciences, life sciences and biotechnology. Through the Competition, students pursue ground-breaking research projects under the mentorship of professional experts – all before graduating high school.
Not only does the competition spark curiosity, it gives students an opportunity to meet a network of individuals who share the same passion for STEM and to seek mentorship. Caroline Huang, a grade 11 student from Oakville, Ontario is an exceptional example of this.
In 2021, Caroline was selected as a winner of the Competition for her research project focused on nerve regeneration, where she grew and studied a species of slime mold and studied its growth patterns to better understand the dynamics of biological networks. She was also awarded the Sanofi International BioGENEius Challenge Award and had the opportunity to represent Canada at the International BioGENEius Challenge, held at the prestigious BIO International Competition – the largest biotechnology event in the world.
Through the Competitions, Caroline was able to network with individuals working in the STEM field, one of which led her to partake in a program with the University of Toronto where she’s worked with other high school and secondary school students on a number of research projects, including wildlife restoration and building a device that listens to a plant’s physiological response to its environment.
“The Sanofi Biogenius Canada Competition was instrumental in assuring my confidence in STEM. The Competition has opened a lot of doors for me – not only was I able to connect with a network of students who share the same passion for STEM, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet amazing mentors,” says Caroline.
As Caroline enters her final year of high school, she remains dedicated to pursuing her passion in STEM not only through her studies, but by continuing to immerse herself in various projects and opportunities, including an internship with Let’s Talk Science. She is also a strong advocate for women and girls in STEM, ensuring that everyone feels they have a seat at the table to explore scientific discovery.
The 2022 Competition hosted in partnership with Youth Science Canada as part of its Canada-Wide Science Fair in May included yet another group of over 100 young, talented individuals. Projects from this year’s winners included an artificial pancreas prototype to improve care for people living with diabetes, E.coli defense to fight human bacterial infections, and using mealworms to consume styrofoam to combat styrofoam waste in landfills.
“Over the years, we’ve seen thousands of incredible projects from young minds. And year after year, we are simply blown away by the amount of talent and passion that is showcased through the Sanofi Biogenius Canada Competition. These students truly represent the future of STEM and I have no doubt that they will be at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs that will improve the lives of people around the world. We look forward to seeing what’s to come for these bright young minds,” says Stephanie Veyrun-Manetti, Canada Country Lead and General Manager, Specialty Care, Sanofi Canada.
Sanofi’s commitment to leveling the playing field for the next generation of talent extends far beyond the Competition. Now moving into its third year, the Sanofi Biogenius Canada Grant provides better access to hands-on STEM learning by supporting Canadian public high schools with four, $50,000 grants to update lab equipment, launch new science programs and take science education to the next level.
This year’s recipients include Allison Bernard Memorial High School (NS), Conrad Fitzgerald Academy (NL), École Gabriel-Le Courtois (QC), and Goderich District Collegiate Institute (ON). With the Grant, each school will be able to make improvements that will benefit its science programs and improve the scientific learning experience for students. Some of these improvements include replacing old and broken equipment, purchasing new equipment and software to take scientific learning to the next level and re-envisioning current classrooms to enhance engagement among students.
“Through the Sanofi Biogenius Canada Grant, we are helping eliminate barriers to scientific discovery and empowering students to dream big and pursue meaningful careers in STEM. We are proud to support Canadian public high schools’ efforts to stimulate curiosity and motivate students to explore STEM,” says Veyrun-Manetti. To learn more about the Sanofi Biogenius Canada program visit www.biogenius.ca.