2024 Canada Awards – celebrating excellence in Canadian science and industry

Photography: David Morris

3 May 2024

The SCI Canada Awards Dinner on 17 April in Toronto recognised excellence in the Canadian chemical industry.

This year marked the introduction of the ‘Catalysing Your Career’ event, which brought together students, early-career scientists and industry representatives to provide a platform for emerging talent to connect with industry leaders. Through lively speed-networking sessions and engaging conversations, participants gained valuable insights into potential career paths while establishing meaningful connections with professionals in their fields.

Allen Eaves

The evening’s awards spanned various career stages. Dr Allen Eaves, a stem cell research pioneer and founder of STEMCELL Technologies, received the prestigious Canada Medal, which was first awarded in 1939 and is one of the most established innovation awards in Canada. In his acceptance speech, Eaves spoke about the talented young scientists he works with and his passion for supporting their careers, urging the audience to join in his vision of ‘scientists helping scientists’. He also paid tribute to his late wife, Dr Connie Eaves, who co-founded STEMCELL Technologies and sadly passed away this year.

Christine Allen

Professor Christine Allen, co-founder of Nanovista – a company that develops advanced imaging technologies for cancer therapy – won the Julia Levy Award. Allen’s leadership at Nanovista and research in drug delivery systems engineering has significantly advanced the field, reflecting the core of the Julia Levy Award, which celebrates successful commercialisation of innovative ideas, particularly within Canada's biomedical science and engineering sector. Accepting the award, Professor Allen recounted meeting Julia Levy earlier in her career and being inspired by her work.

Oliver Technow

Oliver Technow, CEO of pharmaceutical company BioVectra, received the Purvis Memorial Award for his strategic leadership in pharmaceuticals. Technow expressed his gratitude for the award, recognising the purpose, legacy, and impact of BioVectra's work. Technow has overseen significant expansions, creating numerous jobs in the Atlantic region, solidifying BioVectra's position as a leader in the industry, and contributing to the overall development of the Canadian chemical industry.

Hanadi Sleiman

Professor Hanadi Sleiman of McGill University won the Kalev Pugi Award for her groundbreaking DNA nanostructure research. While unable to attend in person, Sleiman sent a statement expressing her delight at receiving an award celebrating the creative spirit of Kalev Pugi, and her excitement about using DNA and RNA medicines to target diseases.

The Canada International Award went to Dr Bruno Pollet, a leader in sustainable energy solutions. Pollet thanked the committee for recognising his work over two decades in the sector. With expertise in hydrogen research, electrochemistry, and fuel cells, Pollet's work has made significant strides in sustainable energy solutions.


The Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology (SCWIST) received the Outreach Award for promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. Melanie Ratnam from SCWIST highlighted the organisation's founders, “The Undaunted Six”, who have empowered countless women in science for 40 years. Numerous attendees spoke to the impact of SCWIST's work.

Dr Zhongxin Zhou received the LeSueur Memorial Award for his contributions to pharmaceutical development. Dr Zhou has played a key role in the commercial launches of 20 novel drug substances worldwide. His expertise in organic synthesis and process chemistry has led to development of new commercially viable processes for the manufacture of pharmaceutical ingredients.

Overall, the event celebrated achievements across generations, fostering a collective commitment to empowering the next wave of scientific leaders in Canada.

Looking ahead, there is a collective enthusiasm to explore opportunities to empower and advance the next generation of scientific talent.

To register your interest in next year’s event, please contact awards@soci.org with the subject ‘SCI Canada Awards event 2025’.

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