September 24, 2010

Premier Kicks Off the Year of Science in B.C.

Vancouver – To inspire young minds across the province and foster a culture of research and innovation Premier Gordon Campbell today proclaimed the 2010-2011 school year as the Year of Science in B.C.

Premier Campbell was joined by Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, school children, award-winning science students and science organizations at today’s event at Science World to officially launch the Year of Science.

“Labour market forecasts predict that by the end of this decade, three quarters of all future jobs in B.C. will need some post-secondary education, and many of the most interesting and well-paying jobs will need a solid understanding of math, sciences, engineering and technologies,” said Premier Campbell. “Through the Year of Science, working in partnership with leaders in the science community, our government wants to help B.C. families connect with the passion and exhilaration of science discovery, and call attention to some of the diverse and exciting career opportunities available through science right in their own communities.”

The recently released BC Labour Market Outlook shows that employment demand for science, technology, engineering and math-related occupations will increase faster than other occupations over the next 10 years with 145,700 new job openings and an annual employment growth rate of 2.4 per cent, compared to 1.8 per cent for all occupations. In fact, virtually all of the top 50 occupations that are expected to experience the most serious shortages are science and technology-related and will require science and math prerequisites at high school and in post-secondary education.

The Year of Science is a major cross-government initiative led by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. The goal is to engage British Columbians, in particular young people, in science by showcasing how science works, who scientists are, the kinds of work they do, and why science matters in the everyday lives of British Columbians and the communities they live in.

“Science is about creative spirit and inspiration – about developing new knowledge – and the ability to turn knowledge into new and improved goods and services demanded by the global marketplace,” said Stilwell. “Through the Year of Science, we want to create a legacy that will continue to encourage a culture of innovation and research in B.C. and inspire young minds with the thrill of scientific discovery.”

The Premier unveiled phase one of the Year of Science website to provide up-to-date information about Year of Science events as the year unfolds. The site features profiles on businesses, science centres and B.C. science personalities who are shaping the face of science in B.C.  Interactive games and activities will be added in October.

A key feature of the website is a province-wide calendar of events. Events such as science fairs, competitions, seminars and lectures, are planned in communities as far reaching as Fort Nelson, Haida Gwaii, Prince George, Quesnel, Kelowna, Vernon and Comox. To date, there are 157 confirmed events with many more being added as details are finalized. Parents, grandparents, teachers and young people are encouraged to visit the website to learn more about science in B.C. and to find out how to get involved in their community.

“Our province has many interesting and rewarding careers in the sciences, and many scientific achievements to be proud of,” says Patti Leigh, founder and director of the board, Science Fair Foundation of B.C. “I am very excited to participate in the Year of Science through community events and competitions such as the Regional Science Fair program, all of which will help to raise awareness of the importance of science to our future, encourage young people to pursue careers in the sciences and to foster new partnerships that will continue to support a culture of innovation and research in B.C.

B.C. is already recognized as a world leader in many areas of research and innovation.   Organizations such as Genome BC, the Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, the B.C. Cancer Agency and TRIUMPH are all outstanding in their fields, using scientific research and innovation to change lives, and indeed the world, for the better.

“As our province moves deeper into a knowledge-based economy, B.C.’s continued ability to lead research and foster innovation is critical,” said Premier Campbell. “By encouraging B.C.’s young people to pursue a better education in science today, we will be preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow and ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to build a strong economy, contribute to a healthier environment and bring about a brighter future for everyone.”

Find out about science events in your community, or learn more about science in B.C., at

Visit the Premier’s Video Gallery