What is the biotechnology industry?
The biotechnology industry is made up of the invention, development, production, and use of products and processes that use biological resources. The bio-economy is made up of four sectors: bio-health, bio-energy, bio-industrial, and agri-biotech. In 2013, 47% of biotechnology companies in Canada were in bio-health.
What types of jobs are there in the bio-economy?
Biotechnology companies have people working in the areas of preclinical research, clinical research, research and development, manufacturing, quality control and assurance, and others. Some careers in the bio-economy, like the ones below, have similar duties and traits to medical lab technologists.
- Bio-economy lab workers (also called biotechnology lab workers) are employed in many types of labs, including research, quality control, and quality assurance. They do bench work and follow laboratory procedures under the supervision of laboratory technologists, laboratory researchers, research scientists, and other senior staff. They comply with good laboratory and manufacturing practices, and they may participate in the development of processes related to biotechnology. You can find more details about this occupation on the CSMLS Fact Sheet about bio-economy lab workers and from BioTalent Canada’s Skills Profiles in the Career Tools section.
- Bio-economy research assistants help run studies in laboratories. They have a wide range of duties that include looking up past and current research projects and results, setting up studies (including identifying financial, human, and material resources), running and reporting on experiments, recording detailed observations, analyzing data, and interpreting and communicating results. They are also responsible for preparing samples, testing equipment, and developing protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs). They must handle samples carefully and record notes that are organized, clear, and accurate. After experiments have been completed, the research assistant stores samples in the right place and cleans the laboratory. You can find more details about this occupation from BioTalent Canada’s Skills Profiles in the Career Tools section.
- Bio-economy animal care attendants work with a variety of laboratory animals involved in research studies. They care for the animals, observe, and provide research support, all according to the regulations of the Canadian Council on Animal Care. Animal care attendants clean animal housing, empty waste matter, fill cages with fresh bedding, groom animals, and feed them according to policies, procedures, and research protocols. They may also provide routine postoperative care, administer medication, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinarians or scientists. You can find more details about this occupation on the CSMLS Fact Sheet about animal health technologists and veterinary techs and from BioTalent Canada’s Skills Profiles in the Career Tools section.
The four occupations described above are part of the occupational groups of biological technician and technologists (NOC 2221) and chemical technicians and technologists (NOC 2221). You can find more information about these occupational groups on the CSMLS Fact Sheets.
Where can I find more information about the bio-economy in Canada?
More details about the bio-economy are available at BIOTEC Canada and BioTalent Canada.
BioTalent Canada provides guidelines about how readers can use their Career Tools to identify skills that they could transfer to different careers in the bio-economy.