Despite the pandemic, BioME continues to impact and inspire Maine’s life sciences community virtually

As we enter 2021, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of our accomplishments from 2020. Despite the challenges each person has faced throughout the pandemic, BioME has continued to fulfill its mission of advancing economic growth and opportunities in the life sciences community of Maine through restructuring events, new programs and initiatives.

We released the “Why Maine?” campaign to showcase Maine as a premiere destination for life sciences professionals to live and work

In collaboration with FocusMaine, we produced the Why Maine? campaign to showcase Maine as an emerging hub for the bioscience industry. We highlighted the unique advantages that attract people to Maine — its value, access, proximity, work-life balance, industry impact, and workforce, along with presenting numerous resources for startups, companies and employees.

The video features Maine’s picturesque scenery and interviews life science entrepreneurs who explain why Maine is an enriching community to live and work. The video was released at September’s BioME Virtual Coffee Hour, which featured speakers and partners we worked with in collaboration for the campaign. The campaign release was picked up by MainBiz – Life science community touts Maine’s advantages in new marketing campaign.

This campaign was complemented by the redesigned Bioscience Map of Maine; a comprehensive list of Maine life science companies. This map was designed as a tool to showcase the size and diversity of companies within the industry.

We hosted student events virtually to promote workforce development and engage Maine students in the midst of distance learning

Maine Bioscience Day has been held in-person at local middle schools across the state since 2016. Traditionally, scientists and life science professionals visit local middle school classrooms to talk with students about their career in science, their daily tasks, and the opportunities that are available in such careers. Since scientists were unable to visit in-person, we produced video presentations featuring three Maine scientists, held live Q&A sessions, and provided two instructional videos with hands-on activities to make for an informative and educational Maine Bioscience Day. Going virtual allowed us to expand our reach to over 5,100 students from 46 middle schools all across Maine. Due to this success, Maine Bioscience Day will continue as a hybrid event to reach rural districts in years to come.

The BioME Student Showcase provides high school and college students with an opportunity showcase their passion for life sciences in competition for cash and academic prizes. The second annual Student Showcase was restructured as a virtual event, and 16 high school and 10 college students presented their innovative life sciences research to the panel of judges via Zoom. High School students were interviewed individually, while college students presented their 3-minute pitch to competitors, mentors and judges. Watch the college competition and read our blog post to learn more.

In addition, we distributed $8,000 in scholarships and awards to Maine students to support their education and advance educational opportunities in the bioscience industry in Maine.

We restructured our signature events to keep our community connected throughout the pandemic

Women In Bioscience was held as a webinar featuring a moderated panel discussion of acclaimed female scientists and entrepreneurs focusing on adjusting to a new work environment in the midst of a global pandemic, career stories, and obstacles for Maine women in bioscience.

To conclude the year, we hosted a virtual Holiday Mixer, a casual event where the bioscience community could connect, network, and share goals and plans for the upcoming year. Attendees shared two-minute presentations about themselves and their career, as well as their favorite holiday traditions. We also raffled off prizes and shared cocktail recipes to spread the holiday cheer.

We introduced a new Virtual Coffee Hour series and various webinars to showcase what is being done in our industry around the state

We introduced the BioME Virtual Coffee Hour series as an opportunity for the community to learn, connect, and network. Each month, life science entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, and faculty discuss the impressive work they are doing within the state.

Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, joined us at our November Coffee Hour. Dr. Shah gave us his thoughts and opinions on COVID vaccine and treatment development as well as talking a bit about his background and career path.

We hosted a number of webinars, including the Science of COVID-19 which featured Maine’s most esteemed epidemiologists, virologists, and public health experts from Jackson Laboratory, MaineHealth, Abbott, MMCRI, and University of Maine. The webinar provided an all-encompassing overview of the virus, with the scientists discussing research progress, testing, vaccines, and treatment, all from a scientific perspective.

We held two in-person events in January

Before the pandemic, we were able to host two in-person events in January. We held our annual Legislative Reception in Hallowell, which allowed members to speak directly with Maine Legislators about policies that can support the life sciences sector and the economy in Maine as a whole.

We also held an Open House to introduce our beautiful new office space on Maple Street in downtown Portland.

We added new cost saving benefits for our members

BioME, in partnership with BIO Business Solutions, offer our members discounts on various brands and products. This year, we added three new companies to our Cost Savings Program — Mercer, PSC Biotech, and Research Solutions / Reprints Desk. These cost savings programs that are specifically made for life sciences organizations are available to all BioME members.

If you’d like to learn more about the Cost Savings Program, we have a BioME Member Cost Savings webinar detailing some of the cost savings programs available to you as a valued member of BioME.

Thank you for your support

Lastly, we want to thank our members, sponsors, board members, and friends for your support of BioME and the life sciences industry in Maine. We can’t wait to achieve, discover, and contribute more in 2021. Thank you for being a valued member of our community; we wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2021!