Network creates new opportunities for graduate trainees

By Jennifer Parraga, BA’93

The London chapter of the Science To Business Network (S2BN) was launched at Western University in October to create new opportunities for graduate trainees to shape and develop their careers.

Tian Duo Wang, Madeleine Dacey, Mark O’Reilly, Lauren Smith and Christopher Smith are the organizers of the local chapter and hosted the first event.

Wang who serves as the Vice President, Internal of London’s S2BN, says he first heard about it from a graduate chair. He decided to get involved to gain more exposure to industry leaders and to open up the same opportunity for his peers.

“I had been to career talks in the past, but what was always missing for me was the opportunity to meet and network with people who are in the industry,” said Wang. “I wanted to be part of something that could facilitate more of a personal connection for me with industry leaders and that could educate me and my peers.”

Wang also believes that because the Chapter events are open to all program areas, it will break down the silos that currently exist between trainees and create unexpected opportunities.

Bruce Seet, PhD’02, is the founder of the S2BN and the Director of Medical Affairs for Sanofi Pasteur. A Schulich Medicine & Dentistry alumnus, Seet is proud to have the London Chapter join a growing list across Ontario and in Alberta. 

The Network began in 2011 with a group of like-minded scientists who, like Seet, were recipients of the Science to Business Scholarship offered through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to enable individuals with PhD in a health-related field to pursue an MBA. Seet says that the group was formed with a vision to develop Canada into a world-class centre for innovation and technology commercialization.

The network grew and now includes other business-minded scientists and has organized chapters to engage graduate trainees.

“My goal is to inspire graduate trainees to think more broadly about the opportunities they have right in front of them,” Seet said. “Their research skills are their foundation and their currency, and we want to complement this and demonstrate to them how they can reapply their skills to different situations.”

Wang is enthusiastic at the promise that the Network offers. There were approximately 40 trainees at the first London meeting, and the organizers are hoping to hold two or three events every semester. Their goal moving forward is to offer more comprehensive events, bring in more industry speakers to Western and host networking sessions.

For more information about S2BN, visit and watch for posters and Western calendars for upcoming local events.