Montreal Science Centre

Montreal Science Centre

Montreal, Quebec, Canada World Biotech Tour 2016


The Montreal Science Centre (MSC) ambassadors were recruited from a program called Apprentis en biosciences (Biosciences Apprentice). The ambassadors, ten 16-19 years old students, had previously experienced a week-long program in a real biotechnology research setting before their acceptance into the WBT.

Photos by MSC

Training, Exchanges, and School Visits

Ambassadors studied and developed presentations for their biotech topics with the help of museum staff and mentors. Each ambassador was required to design and build a hands-on activity for their research topic. Throughout their training, ASTC hosted several online exchanges between the ambassadors so that the students from different countries could meet and learn from each other. Exchanges included science communication exercises, Q&A, and updates on the WBT events and activities occurring at each site.

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Photos by MSC

Ambassadors presented their biotechnological activity in one primary school to a total of more than 200 students and teachers. Ambassadors learned quickly how to adapt their biotech topics to Saint-Pierre-Claver primary school students, a difficult task for any science communicator. Presentations were also conducted in Ratihente High School with the whole school – 30 natives students - in Kanehsatàke, an hour drive from Montréal.

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Photos by MSC


Excitement for the World Biotech Tour festival began with the ambassadors filming a promotional video highlighting their work in the project and activities visitors would experience during the event.

Over 3,000 people visited the World Biotech Tour festival at the science centre and pop-up festival at the Marc Favreau Library on April 7-9th, 2017. The opening day began with the ambassadors showcasing their biotech research projects alongside local scientists. In the evening, the official kick-off ceremony included words from Megan Gladden, Biogen Foundation, Lisa Hickey, Vice President and Managing Director of Biogen Canada, and Isabel Dansereau, Sr. Director of the Montréal Science Centre. Science enthusiasts and curious citizens were invited to a special Science Café with the french national public radio broadcaster, ICI Première, at the MSC: Could we live up to 140 years?.

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Photos by Carlin Hsueh

The festival included ambassadors and museum staff facilitating the Lab-in-a-box activities, a biotechnology scavenger hunt, ambassadors presenting their biotech table top activities, and Biogen Canada employees facilitating the PTC taste test activity.

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Photos by MSC and ASTC

Employees from Biogen Canada also participated in the festival. Working with ASTC and the Montreal Science Centre, Biogen employees from Toronto and the Montreal area volunteered to facilitate the PTC taste test activity. Visitors were able to test how well they can taste bitterness, a trait typically based on your genes but that can also be affected by environmental causes. The employees were able to explain how these kinds of genetic variances can affect how companies like Biogen develop their therapies to become more personalized.

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Photos by Carlin Hsueh

Even though the ambassadors had a long day presenting their biotech topics and participating in the evening events they enjoyed talking to the public and sharing their passion for biotechnology (and had fun doing it)! 

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Photo by Carlin Hsueh

The tour traveled to the Marc-Favreau Library on April 9th, where it delighted unsuspecting library visitors with pop-up biotechnology activities. The community was able to try the ambassadors' activities as well as the World Biotech Tour Lab-in-a-box activities.

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Photos by Carlin Hsueh


The ambassadors welcomed a special guest from the WBT to Montreal and the science center. Mao Hattori, an ambassdaor from Miraikan (Japan), and her mentor were given the opportunity to travel to one of the WBT locations in 2016. Having chosen Montreal, the students and museum staff were able to meet them both in person. The international group was able to listen to each other's presentations and discuss biotechnology topics. Due to the language barrier, the group was also able to practice different communication skills such as using drawings to help convey complex topics! Afterwards, Mao and her mentor were treated to the sights and culture of the Montreal area.

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Photos by MSC

Many of the ambassadors were able to gain experience working in research laboratories with their mentors. ASTC was also able to invite one of the ambassadors to present on Gender Equity for Global Sustainability - The Role of Women and Girls in Science to Meet the Challenges of the 17 SDGs at the United Nations in New York.

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Photos by MSC, Daria Cirnatiu, and ASTC

SCWS2017 Ambassador

The WBT team at MSC selected and announced Enzo Calgano to represent the Montreal Science Center at the 2017 Science Centre World Summit at a closing ceremony at the science centre. The ambassadors were evaluated by an exhaustive list of criteria covering every step of their participation. Enzo will join 11 other ambassadors in presenting biotech activities and topics during the world summit in Tokyo, Japan.

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Photos by MSC

Throughout the WBT, the youth program was designed to encourage the ambassadors to treat the program as their community, where they can interact with people with similar interests in biotech and science communication. The Montreal ambassadors really embraced this, meeting up to do social activities like mini golf and supporting each other throughout the program.

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