Students and Teachers to Learn in Front-line Research Labs: Selinger
Premier Greg Selinger announced today the Manitoba government is investing $450,000 toward construction of a new biomedical science teaching laboratory and classroom at the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre to promote science education and directly engage students in the future of medical science research.
“We want to help Manitoba students perform well in subjects that can lead to highly skilled, cutting-edge careers in exciting areas such as medical research and development,” Selinger said.
“We are delighted to support the expansion of a unique and exciting partnership that has connected thousands of students to the incredible world of hands-on experiences in science education and its importance to Manitoba’s future.”
The funding will support development of a 3,000-square-foot laboratory with classroom and study areas offering a controlled, safe and authentic teaching environment. Students will be introduced to advanced research techniques involving cell cultures, molecular biology and the use of state-of-the-art microscopes to gain first-hand biomedical research experience.
The St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre facility has been involved in a five-year intensive medical sciences and research outreach education pilot program called It’s All About Me in partnership with the Louis Riel School Division. Last year, more than 4,100 students gained hands-on experiences through 155 classroom sessions.
In the new facility, students and teachers alike will benefit from viewing real science in progress and gaining new experiences through active participation in functioning labs. The centre will also offer popular specialized summer training sessions for science teachers who are able to work with equipment and techniques they are not able to access in schools.
“St. Boniface Hospital Foundation has been an avid supporter of the It’s All About Me program since its launch in 2005. The program exposes Manitoba youth to innovative science education and demystifies medical research, making careers in health care an exciting possibility for students,” said Chuck LaFlèche, president and CEO of the foundation. “We are very excited to welcome the Manitoba government as a partner in supporting this unique educational outreach program.”
“It’s the ideal match of eager young minds in a world-class medical research teaching environment,” said Dr. Grant Pierce, St. Boniface Hospital executive director of research. “It has the potential to touch the lives of thousands of young children each year. The Government of Manitoba, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation and the University of Manitoba must be congratulated for their vision in supporting this exciting program that is the only one of its kind in Canada!”
Partners in the pilot project want to expand the program to other school divisions and will also consider using video conferencing technologies to reach students in rural and remote communities.
“This partnership is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when school divisions, industry sectors and governments work together to benefit Manitoba teachers and students,” Selinger said. “Enhancing science education is part of our long-term strategy to help keep students interested and fully engaged in school and increase their opportunities for success throughout their lives.”