Getting an edge in your job hunt

Mitacs Step helps SFU postdoc land new position

As a research scientist in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Jacque-Lynne has devoted herself to studying cilia — tiny antennae found on the surface of cells, used for sensory processes, such as taste, touch, and smell. Understanding how cilia work is important because when they break down, a person can suffer a range of health problems, such as sterility, obesity, and neurological deficits.

Yet, in the midst of her research, Jacque-Lynne knew her career could benefit from other learning outside the lab.

In academic research, things are narrowly focused — you want to be in your lab doing research and reading about studies in your field. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for professional development. I became interested in Mitacs Step after hearing about it from a graduate student who’d enjoyed the experience.”

Jacque-Lynne started by enrolling in the networking course.

From there, she signed up for other courses, including intellectual property, entrepreneurship, project management, and business communication. And it wasn’t long before this exposure to skills outside of her field paid-off: Jacque-Lynne was hired by Innovate Calgary to work in intellectual property management, evaluating the potential of new life sciences technologies.

“The hiring process came down to me and another person, and — in addition to my scientific expertise — what tipped the balance in my favour was my participation in Mitacs Step. The skills I learned from the workshops are what employers are looking for.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia for their support of the Training program in this story. Across Canada, the STEP program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewanand Research Manitoba.

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Mitacs empowers Canadian innovation through effective partnerships that deliver solutions to our most pressing problems. By driving economic growth and productivity, we create meaningful change to improve quality of life for all Canadians.