Life sciences


The City of Kitchener's catalytic investment of $30 million into the University of Waterloo (UW) School of Pharmacy - part of the university's Downtown Health Sciences Campus - marked the mobilization of our life sciences cluster - a sector focused on pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. The campus combines education, diagnostics, treatment, research, and commercial applications in dramatic and innovative ways.

The UW School of Pharmacy is the only in the province outside Toronto and was created through a unique partnership between the city and UW, supporting the incubation of biotechnology-company startups. The University of Waterloo has opened an Optometry faculty at this campus as well, to enable the UW School of Optometry to increase its scope and spark collaboration with other health care professionals in medicine and pharmacy. McMaster University has also opened a satellite of their Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at this Health Sciences Campus location, capitalizing on the potential for furthering research and partnerships within the life sciences sector.

The Downtown Kitchener Health Sciences Campus is becoming a magnet for pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms that are eager to establish a presence close to the school. We have also experienced a surge in our downtown student population, as thousands from across the country - and all over the world - compete for a spot on campus. 

Also located in Downtown Kitchener is the nation's largest free student incubator, UW Velocity, and with a $400,000 investment from the City of Kitchener, Velocity Science now houses the largest wet lab facility in the region, where dozens of burgeoning startups are revolutionizing the way technology meet life sciences. 

Kitchener is home to the #1 rated college in Ontario - Conestoga College. With their School of Health and Life Sciences, Conestoga produces hundreds of bright professionals every year ready to make their mark in the life science industry. Downtown Kitchener also has three professional training schools with healthcare programs, developing the next generation of talent for vital healthcare support positions. TriOS College is located in the heart of the downtown core, adding to the large downtown student population and available fresh talent.

People and talent

  • 550 students, and 30 faculty members at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy in Downtown Kitchener
  • McMaster University's satellite school of medicine within the Downtown Health Sciences Campus
  • Local co-op students available from the pharmaceutical and bioinformatics fields of study
  • University of Waterloo Applied health sciences, home to approximately 400 full- and part-time graduate and 1,700 undergraduate students.
  • Conestoga College's school of Health, Life Sciences and Community Services has 5,100 students enrolled.

Leading companies

Local research and development

Government support

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