Halifax, Edmonton & Saskatoon for Life Sciences Meetings
Why Meeting Planners are Looking to These Canadian Knowledge Hubs to their Host Life Sciences Events
As one of the safest, most affordable, and welcoming destinations, it’s no surprise that Canada caps many lists of “must meet” destinations for international Life Sciences events. With hot spots for cancer research, radiation therapies, regenerative treatments, brain and vascular health stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Canadian prairies, multinational organizations recognize that life-changing advancements in patient care are happening here. Indeed, three Canadian centres of excellence stand out for their depth of resources, wealth of intellectual capital, and volume of local experts who can aid in championing Life Sciences, med-tech and pharmaceutical events; the fact that they’re alluring destinations for their scenic beauty, unique cultural attractions, and abundant activities and experiences is a bonus for planners and delegates alike.
On the eastern edge of the North Atlantic, Halifax has always been a natural meeting place where land, ocean and smart organizations connect. A leader in marine-derived nutraceuticals, and home to eastern Canada’s largest medical research centre, not to mention the highest concentration of neuroscientists per capita, Halifax is a leading centre of excellence across a spectrum of Life Sciences.
“With seven universities, three large Federal government research facilities, several Provincial facilities, numerous private laboratories, and eastern Canada’s major medical research hospital complex; Halifax is a major life sciences centre,” says Jeffrey Turner, Sales Director with Discover Halifax.
Home to the Brain Repair Centre, internationally recognized for its research of neurodegenerative disorders, Halifax is also a leading research centre for multi-organ transplant, and cancer treatments, natural health and bio-products, and more.
When organizers choose to meet in Halifax they can help their delegates bolster their professional network by tapping into the wealth of local resources including Dalhousie University, one of Canada’s most renowned faculties of medicine, or the Life Sciences Research Institute and its 100+ researchers, or the National Research Council where 120 scientists are undertaking R&D in marine biosciences, biotechnology, and non-invasive technology in bio-diagnostics.
With some of the most advanced facilities in Canada, not to mention 30% of the biotech research spending in Canada, Saskatoon has emerged as a leader in infectious disease research and vaccine development. This riverside prairie city is home to the Canadian Light Source, a cutting-edge synchrotron radiation facility used by scientists from around the globe, and the VIDO-InterVac (the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre) researchers here are developing immunity enhancing technologies to fight infectious diseases and more.
It’s just such research initiatives that helped draw experts from a diverse range of specialties to the One Health World Congress in Saskatoon in 2018 where delegates explored how human, environmental and animal health are interconnected, and how each discipline can work together to combat infectious diseases.
Vikram Misra, University of Saskatchewan professor of microbiology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine notes that University of Saskatchewan’s One Health research approach to undergraduate, graduate, and faculty training and research programs was a key factor in the organizing committee’s decision to host the conference in Saskatoon.
“Such health problems are complex, and we need expertise from all disciplines to understand and collaboratively solve them. Our congress [brought] together scientists, health care professionals, educators, and members of the community, as well as people responsible for making government policy, to share their points of view and better understand each other’s priorities and needs.”
Most planners familiar with Edmonton know about its picturesque river valley and its state-of-the-art Edmonton Convention Centre; many even know about the city’s burgeoning new ICE District, the 25-acre hub where sports, entertainment, and public celebrations collide. But what they may not know is that Edmonton is home to the University of Alberta, one of Canada’s leading research universities, and approximately 60% of all Alberta Life Sciences businesses, making this river city one of the most research-intensive destinations in Canada to host conferences in the Life Sciences space.
“We’ve got the intellectual edge with our schools, an ecosystem ripe for growth and strong partnerships in place,” says Anna Look, director of meetings and conventions for Edmonton Tourism who also notes, it’s those partnerships that help connect conference planners with the city’s Life Sciences leaders in academia and industry to create meaningful content for events hosted here.
A hotbed of innovation, Edmonton is designated Canada’s Health City for the work being done to fuel research in biotech, medtech, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Some of the “made in Edmonton” innovations include a heart transplant protocol for children, the world’s first oral anti-viral treatment for Hepatitis B, robot-assisted beating heart surgery, and The Edmonton Protocol, a revolutionary treatment for Type 1 Diabetes.
According to Look, collaboration is at the heart of the Life Sciences industry in Edmonton, a city known for its entrepreneurial spirit. It’s that connective tissue that surrounds meetings here, where organizations can leverage thought leadership from some 4,500 different businesses, and hundreds of researchers across a spectrum of specialized sciences. “It’s as simple as connecting with our team,” says Look.