Industry Partner - City of Thunder Bay


The City of Thunder Bay Tourism & Economic Development Department has identified a very strong “Education & Knowledge Creation Cluster” in Thunder Bay and recognizes an emerging biotechnology cluster which has become a focus of the City’s Economic Development Plan (City of Thunder Bay Website, available at http://www.thunderbay.ca/).

A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis lists the following strengths and opportunities for Biotechnology in Northwestern Ontario:

  • Presence of anchor institutions, such as Lakehead University and the Medical School

  • The City’s active involvement in the BCIP initiative

  • For-profit biotechnology companies already established in Thunder Bay (such as Genesis Genomics and Molecular World)

  • Potential to create greater links between industry and Lakehead University

Weaknesses and threats include:

  • Current pool of human capital (PhD and other post-graduates) is rather small

  • Lack of coordination, cohesion and communication

  • Lack of strategic plan and under utilization of existing resources (people, institutions).

  • Lack of visibility and marketing for local biotechnology

The Lakehead University Biotechnology Program will not only enhance existing strengths and opportunities, but will make a significant contribution to alleviate weaknesses and threats through:

  • The implementation of a new PhD program and increased training of graduate students and Postdoctoral fellows

  • The networking activities with local industrial partners, the City of Thunder Bay and participants in the BCIP initiative

  • The outreach activities aimed at enhancing the public’s knowledge of the breadth of local biotechnology research

Thunder Bay’s Tourism & Economic Development Department is also a major player in the Regional Innovation Network (RIN), a project of the Northern Ontario Biotechnology Initiative. Important functions of RIN include increasing knowledge flow and building linkages, building industry receptor capacity for uptake and adoption of new technologies and development of strong networks across the province to increase accessibility of publicly-funded R&D infrastructure and resources. Once the RIN is up and running, the Lakehead University Biotechnology Program will benefit greatly from participation through joint publicity efforts and uncovering new opportunities.