Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Week of June 10 – 17, 2002

Week of June 10 – 17, 2002

Document Tools

Print This Page

Email This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

Jun 11, 2002
Growing a new breed of scientists…While Toronto plays host to the largest international biotechnology gathering ever, researchers and scholars in Vancouver have announced their launch of a program that will catapult BC to the leading edge of bioinformatics. SFU, the BC Cancer Agency’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre and the University of BC have partnered to develop an unprecedented training program. It will address a North America-wide shortage of bioinformaticians—scientists whose trans-disciplinary knowledge of biology and computer science enables them to make sense of complex computer data sets tied to gene mapping. "Due to the exponential growth of data about molecules, cells and organisms, biology is now a very complex science," says Frederic Pio. An assistant professor at SFU’s department of molecular biology and biochemistry (MBB), Pio is one of several SFU researchers behind the creation of the new bioinformatics program. Pio predicts that training programs such as the one just launched in BC will foster the creation of more biotechnology companies here in the next three to five years.

Frederic Pio, 604.291.5660/5657 (also speaks French); frederic_pio@sfu.ca
Bruce Brandhorst, 604.291.4627; bruce_brandhorst@sfu.ca


Opening borders to skilled labourers…As the federal government announces proposed new plans targeting immigration rules concerning skilled workers, immigration experts and policy makers from Canada and China are preparing to meet in Beijing (June 13-14). They will examine the impact of China’s recent ascension to the World Trade Organization (WTO), on temporary migration of skilled workers in both China and Canada. While they are in growing demand around the world, regulatory barriers continue to limit skilled worker mobility. Participants will discuss the prospects for two-way flows of skilled workers between China and Canada as well as policy implications for both countries. The Roundtable forum is organized by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APFC) and the Centre for Research on Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis (RIIM). SFU economist and immigration expert Don DeVoretz, who is also RIIM director, says current Canadian immigration legislation, as it relates to China, is "totally inadequate to withstand the pressures of the predicted growth in temporary immigration." He adds that fact alone "can thwart trade between the two countries."

Don DeVoretz, 604.291.4660; don_devoretz@sfu.ca
(he is away from June 11-22 but may be reachable via email during this time)


Cruising to a new port of call...Four years ago there were no cruise ships stopping at Seattle, despite being a major US port city. Recently revitalized, the city will this year see a record 79 visits made to its new $28 million cruise terminal. Across the border, with its own cruise ship terminal at Canada Place, Vancouver has been the home port for cruises up the Inside Passage to Alaska. How will the revitalization of the city south of the border impact Vancouver? SFU transportation expert Warren Gill says the attraction for U.S. cruisers is mostly a result of September 11, as Americans are opting to stay closer to home. "Princess (Cruise Lines) is playing up the resort aspect of two new giant ships, as they can’t offer the itineraries of the Vancouver-based ships. For example, they travel more on the ‘outside passage’ than the famous Inside passage, and don’t offer sites like Glacier Bay or Yakatat Bay," notes Gill, who is researching the history of cruise ship industry. "In some ways I think this is a new product, geared at a new audience."

Warren Gill, 604.291.5005, warren_gill@sfu.ca