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Nova Scotia is a natural location for life sciences research 

With the life sciences sector in Nova Scotia identified as one of the largest opportunity areas for economic growth, our scientists are doing world-class R&D and have access to state-of-the-art incubator facilities.

A strong workforce 

Nova Scotia is Canada’s university capital, home to 10 universities and 13 community college campuses. The province boasts an educated workforce and of its total population, 59% has post-secondary education. Looking within the life sciences sector specifically, this number rises to 81%. The life sciences sector directly employs 3,600 of these highly skilled people; 1300 within the private sector and 2,300 in federal institutes and post-secondary institutions. 

Vibrant ecosystem 

Life sciences in Nova Scotia is advancing biotechnology around the globe, producing innovative products, and giving scientists the best facilities to conduct their research. You'll find some of the most innovative Life Sciences companies in the world - right here in Nova Scotia - operating in the fields of:

  • Medical technology 
  • Pharmaceuticals and vaccines 
  • Natural health products 
  • Digital health 
  • BioProducts 

Nova Scotia’s health and life sciences cluster 

Nova Scotia is home to many academic, research and economic development facilities focused on supporting and growing a thriving life sciences sector. Government, academia and commercial partners come together in Nova Scotia to promote business, build lasting research partnerships, and introduce companies to new markets. 

Download our life sciences infographic


BioNova leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector. By hosting networking and educational events, and providing connections to potential funders and business resources, BioNova helps companies succeed.  While these companies commercialize life-changing research to improve healthcare, provide healthier food, and develop clean energy solutions, BioNova advocates on behalf of the sector. BioNova champions the sector’s cluster of world-class research facilities, incubator programs, and companies who, together, bring investment and jobs to Nova Scotia. 

Perennia  Innovation Centre  

A Crown Corporation, Perennia is a not-for-profit corporation with the mission to help farmers, fishermen and food processors be prosperous and profitable. They offer expertise in research, marketing and product development for products from the food sector – using waste streams and raw ingredients.  

Dalhousie University  

Dalhousie University is one of Canada's leading research institutions with more 50 research chairs, and is the largest university in Atlantic Canada. Dalhousie University Medical School, a world-renowned, research-intensive institution, is home to some of the country's top researchers. Its research departments provide support for clinical and applied research projects at the QEII Hospital. Main areas of research include cardiovascular, immunology, infectious diseases and neurology. 

National Research Council 

The National Research Council has facilities in Halifax focused on improving diagnosis and treatment of brain illness, advancing the research and development of non-invasive technologies in medicine, and transferring R&D innovation to the clinical and commercial sectors. 

Innovacorp Enterprise Centre

The Innovacorp Enterprise Centre in Halifax focuses on companies in the life sciences and clean technology industries and offers specialized lab and incubation facilities otherwise unavailable in the commercial real estate market. Opened in April 2011, this facility is part of the Life Sciences Research Institute, with proximity to universities, hospitals, a vivarium, the Brain Repair Centre, and the National Research Council. 

Life Sciences Research Institute (LSRI)

The LSRI is an integrated facility where scientists, students and entrepreneurs work together to improve the quality of health of Nova Scotians, Atlantic Canadians and those beyond our own provinces. The $70-million facility hosts Innovacorp, BioNova, Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine, the Brain Repair Centre, and more than 100 researchers. 

You’ll be in good company 

Nova Scotia's vibrant life sciences sector is home to more than 100 companies, with a strong focus on bio-health and agri-biotech. Join the ranks of: 

Fast facts 

  • As a centre of excellence in health research, the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the largest teaching hospital and adult academic health sciences centre in Atlantic Canada.  
  • Nova Scotia is home to a thriving and diverse life science ecosystem with globally competitive companies. The province is a world leader in omega-3 fatty acid supplements, with Nature’s Way Canada having the largest share of Canada’s omega-3 market, and DSM Nutrition Products being one of the world’s largest producers.  
  • Acadian Seaplants is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of marine plant products exporting to more than eighty countries. 
  • BioMedica Diagnostics is a leader in the provinces’ large medical technology area, impacting patients in more than 60 countries.  
  • Immunovaccine Inc. is poised to revolutionize immunotherapy and has an estimated CAD $260 million market cap.