Innovacorp partners with local life sciences organizations to generate interest in the life sciences industry among journalism and public relations students.

A unique initiative is getting local journalism and public relations students excited about the life sciences industry in Nova Scotia.

Students from the School of Journalism at the University of King’s College and the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Mount Saint Vincent University are taking part in BioNova’s Life Sciences Scrum 2006.

The Scrum, which is being led by BioNova in partnership with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), National Research Council Institute for Marine BioSciences (NRC IMB), Innovacorp, and The Discovery Centre, gives students the opportunity to meet researchers and business leaders from local life sciences companies to produce press kits and news stories that will be judged in real-time by the Chronicle Herald and the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).

“All of the partners are very excited about this initiative to stimulate interest in the life sciences,” said Marli MacNeil, CEO of BioNova. “By introducing these students to our industry, we hope to inspire in them an interest in the transformative technologies being developed in Nova Scotia, and help them learn the skills necessary to translate future life sciences developments into stories with impact.”

Representatives from Maritime Medical Design, EastMed Inc., ImmunoVaccine Technologies Inc., DeNovaMed, NRC IMB and Performance Genomics Inc. met recently with the public relations students to provide them with context for developing informative press kits. In the style of a traditional media scrum, students were given the opportunity to ask questions about the organizations to help them draft their materials.

“We were delighted to participate in this exciting initiative,” said Dave Alward, vice president of EastMed Inc. “It’s encouraging to see these students showing an interest in life sciences and learning how to write stories about our industry.”

Media releases from the press kits were reviewed by a team of editors at the Chronicle Herald, who then created assignments for the journalism students at King’s, who were required to gather the information necessary to complete print stories. The stories will be critiqued by the editors and the best submission will be published in the Herald.

"This competition has provided me with a good opportunity to gain experience with reporting on an important science issue using a real local organization,” said Cole Hobson, one of the participating journalism students from King’s.

The public relations students will be judged on the effectiveness of their press kits with the winners receiving free student memberships and luncheon sessions from CPRS. The winning journalism and public relations students will also receive cash prizes from BioNova.

The winners will be recognized at the Discovery Centre’s Science and Technology Awards Gala on November 30.

About BioNova
BioNova is Nova Scotia's Biotechnology and Life Sciences Industry Association. BioNova’s mandate is to support its members as they develop their businesses, and to work with government and others to promote the creation of a business environment in which industry growth can occur. WWW.BIONOVA.NS.CA.

For more information, please contact:
Rocky Hynes
Director of Education and Communications
Phone: 902-425-4993

Jennifer Batten
Phone: 902-424-8670 x 1197

November 20, 2006, Halifax, Nova Scotia