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Student science contest participation influences study, career choices, alumni say

Participation in a national student biotech competition helps determine study and career paths for a large majority of contestants, according to a survey released today to mark National Biotechnology Week in Canada.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of 350 past contestants said the Aventis Biotech Challenge (ABC) helped them plan their studies or find vocations in fields such as biotechnology, healthcare, agriculture, and the environment.

In a survey this summer commissioned by the Canadian Biotechnology Education Research Centre, Tanka Research found a large majority (69%) are post-secondary students while 27% are still in high school. Among post-secondary students, 70% are seeking degrees or diplomas in natural or health sciences.

Aventis Pasteur Limited co-funds the national competition with Government of Canada's Sector Council Program, the National Research Council of Canada, Genome Canada, VWR International, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Biotechnology Human Resource Council.

Students who compete in this challenge represent some of the brightest young scientists in Canada and the federal government is a strong supporter of this effort, designed to raise public awareness, especially among students and educators, about emerging sciences and to encourage more students to consider careers in biotechnology.

Past research has shown that the interest of many students in science starts to wane in about Grade 6, said Mark Lievonen, President of Aventis Pasteur Limited.

"This competition is designed to give an extra spark to students who might be inclined to pursue science as a career to create a high-level, real world experience with access to first class equipment and mentors," he said.

"These survey results reinforce why we have championed this student competition since its inception. The economy of tomorrow is being built today on biotechnology and other sciences.
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Canadian Biotechnology Education Resource Centre
30-Sep-2004


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