Lab Canada

New bioinformatics training program unveiled at facility opening

Burnaby, BC May 27, 2003 The Canadian Bioinformatics Resource Industry Service (CBRi) a one-year pilot project that will provide expertise and consulting to small-to-medium-size biotechnology companies and targeted bioinformatics training was announced at the official opening of a new $1.3-million facility at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

Jointly established by the National Research Council’s Canadian Bioinformatics Resource (NRC-CBR), BCIT, and Vitesse (Reskilling) Canada, CBRi is Canada’s first dedicated training and support facility in bioinformatics and is designed to fill an industry-identified gap in bioinformatics know-how.

“With the tremendous growth of the biotech sector in the past four years, it is crucial that the availability of skilled workers keeps pace with the needs of Canadian firms,” says Dr Arthur Carty, NRC president. “This will keep Canada on track to make critical headway into worldwide biotech markets.”

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is assisting the CBRi project with $190,000 in start-up and launch funding. NRC-CBR has provided more than $1-million in resources including mainframe computer equipment. In addition, NRC-CBR will provide systems administration and a network of contacts to provide expertise and consulting. BCIT will provide access to an already-existing training resource centre with a $1.5-million internet engineering lab, computer resources and broadband network connections. Vitesse (Reskilling) Canada will develop, manage and deliver bioinformatics courses based on industry needs.

“We have a strong interest in helping to build winning biotech companies,” says Norman Streat, BCIT’s dean of applied research. “We’re extremely proud to be selected as the first CBRi node in Canada. It recognizes BCIT’s leadership in linking educational resources with the needs of industry. We’re also most appreciative of the support being provided by Western Diversification.”

In the coming year, NRC anticipates expanding the CBRi pilot program across Canada and providing access to CANARIE’s CA*net 4 a network for Internet research and education, which connects the provincial research networks, international peer networks, universities, research centres, government research laboratories, schools and other sites.