BFN & Biotech Annecto Event Popup

HQP Workshop 2016

Every year, BFN organizes a workshop for all the HQP in the network, on the day preceding the Advanced Biofuels Symposium. The goal is to provide HQP with skills and knowledge that complement their scientific research and lab experience. 

There were over 80 participants who joined us for the 2016 edition! Thanks for joining us.

See all the photos of the event 

Jobs in the bioeconomy


When? July 6, 2016, 8:30 am-3:30 pm

Where? Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver BC (as part of the Advanced Biofuels Symposium)

The biofuels and bioeconomy sectors are likely to experience sizable growth over the course of the coming decades, much like the fossil fuel sector grew through the 20th century.  A large number of highly trained skilled workers will be required if this emerging industry is to succeed. Many nations are increasingly transitioning to green energy. Green energy jobs are surpassing jobs in the fossil fuel industry in North America, and many commercial-scale advanced biofuels facilities have recently come online internationally.

This workshop will help students and recent graduates:

  • Pinpoint where to find jobs in the bioeconomy
  • Determine which skills are in demand
  • Develop a plan for success to unlock industry opportunities
  • Learn networking techniques and job interview skills

BioTalent Canada, Mitacs and the Vancouver TheatreSports League will be leading various portions of the workshop, which will also include improv theatre training.


9:00 – 10:30 am |  Rob Henderson, President & CEO, BioTalent Canada  |  Career Opportunities in Bio-Fuels in Canada:  Tools and Resources for Success

10:30 – 11:00 am   Coffee break

11:00 am – 12:00 pm  |   Sang Mah, Director Strategic Accounts & Business Development, Mitacs   |   Unlocking Opportunities: Strategies for Building Successful Relationships with Industry 

12:00 – 1:00 pm  | Lunch

1:00  – 2:15 pm  |  Vancouver TheatreSports League  | Improv theatre workshop focusing on job interviews and networking

2:15 – 2:30 pm | Coffee break

2:30  – 3:30 pm  |  Vancouver TheatreSports League  | Improv theatre workshop focusing on job interviews and networking

Workshop ends: 3:30 pm

5:30 – 8:30 pm  |  Advanced Biofuels Symposium welcome cocktail

Speaker Biographies

Rob Henderson, President and CEO, BioTalent Canada

Rob Henderson Photo 2015

More than anything, a focus on relationship-building and the fact that their work improves people’s lives is what drives Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada.  BioTalent Canada has reinvented itself over the past few years, and in the process has built one of Canada’s largest networks of biotech companies and associations, including no less than four national and 10 provincial industry associations, including Renewable Industries Canada.

BioTalent Canada’s Mission as a national non-profit association is to ensure Canada’s bio-economy has access to the most skilled people available. Along with producing high-quality biotech Labour Market Research, BioTalent Canada works on many projects in partnership with the federal government to link the bio-economy with key employment markets including women, newcomers to Canada, disabled Canadians, and young people.

Rob is a Biology graduate from the University of Ottawa. Prior to his position with BioTalent Canada, he has split his career largely between the private and public sector. During his years in association management he has been CEO of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Canadian Dental Assistants’ Association.

Sang Mah, Director Strategic Accounts & Business Development, Mitacs

Sang Mah

In her five years at Mitacs, Sang has facilitated and advised a wide range of industry-academic research projects across a number of disciplines and sectors. Prior to joining Mitacs, Sang spent time in both the local Vancouver tech sector with companies and at Simon Fraser university managing research projects including industry collaborations. She was involved with two university spin-offs, one as the founding COO. Her educational background includes a MSc in Computing Science with a minor in business administration. Sang enjoys building innovation partnerships, mentoring start-up companies and student entrepreneurs, and when time allows ocean kayaking along the spectacular BC coast.

Ken Lawson, Lead Facilitator, Vancouver TheatreSports Corporate Training


Ken Lawson is the lead facilitator of the Vancouver TheatreSports Corporate Training division. For over 15 years Ken has worked with organizations across Canada in the areas of leadership development, organizational creativity, effective communication and team building. Ken is also a professional actor, improviser and comedian, with extensive experience on stage and screen. He’s been a performing with Vancouver TheatreSports since 2004.

See this video from last year’s workshop:

See photos from last year’s event.

Background information on non-academic bioeconomy jobs

Career tools from BioTalent Canada: find job postings on Canada’s #1 bioeconomy job board; map your career on BioCareer Pathways; apply for the wage-subsidy program and much much more!

Sequencing the data: People driving Canada’s bioeconomy. By BioTalent Canada

This labour market report is a goldmine of information for anyone who is or will be seeking a job in Canada’s bioeconomy. The report details to where the jobs are geographically and in which sectors, what skills are most sought after by companies, and explores some of the biggest human resources challenges in the bioeconomy.

Leaving academia. In Science.

A great resource article for any scientist thinking or planning on working outside academia, and for those who are unsure. Over the years, Science Careers has published many articles to help scientists who are unsure about careers in academia make the right decision, deal with the emotional aspects of a career transition, and figure out where to go from there. Here is a snapshot of their best advice.

Resources on choosing a career path

The complete guide to choosing a career

Counterintuitive career adviceSusan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get. TED Talk

The career advice no one tells you

The Postdoc: A Special Kind of Hell. In Science.

What’s Your Science Degree Worth?. In Science.

Feeling Stuck. In Science.

Job Interview Resources

4 Ways to Be Better at Job Interviews. In Scientific American

Learn to read between the lines of a job ad. In Science.

How to get your job application noticed every time

How to ace the 50 most common interview questions