TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 24, 2011) - Innovative learning tools will be used to teach thousands more southern Ontario students about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields thanks to a Government of Canada investment of nearly $1 million in Partners In Research.

"To drive innovation development, long term economic growth and job creation, our government recognizes the importance of encouraging our youth to pursue educations and careers in science, technology, engineering and math," said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). "By working with Partners In Research to prepare the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow, we are helping to sustain the economy in southern Ontario for generations to come."

With a contribution of up to $986,820, Partners In Research will expand its Virtual Researcher On Call (VROC) program, an interactive science-based program in southern Ontario, which links researchers with students from grades 5 to 12, and provides virtual field trips using video conferencing technology.

"Partners In Research is very pleased that FedDev Ontario has invested in the Virtual Researcher On Call education program," said Kevin Couglar, Interim Executive Director of Partners In Research. "Through this contribution, thousands of students will have access to VROC programming, which will inspire them to consider career choices in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. This investment will create opportunities for students that will translate into entrepreneurial and academic opportunities in southern Ontario for years to come."

This investment is provided through FedDev Ontario's Youth STEM initiative, aimed at encouraging students in kindergarten through grade 12 to pursue an education or career in STEM fields. For more information about the program and Partners in Research, please refer to the backgrounder.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region's strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region's businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative and diversified. To learn more, please visit or call 1-866-593-5505.


Contribution to Partners In Research

Partners In Research (PIR) is a network of Canadian professionals dedicated to educating the public, especially primary and secondary school students, in the fields of health and natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.
PIR offers an initiative called Virtual Researcher On Call (VROC), within its Reaching Every Student program that allows Canadian students from grade 5 to 12 to connect to researchers and other Canadian experts through videoconferencing technology. During Reaching Every Student sessions, students participate in live, interactive discussions with experts. This allows the students to go on a virtual field trip and explore career possibilities, without leaving the classroom. Since its inception in 2005, VROC has provided over 400 sessions primarily to Ontario classrooms.

The funding from FedDev Ontario will allow the Reaching Every Student program to expand to include 2,700 additional videoconferences in schools across southern Ontario over two-and-a-half years, to reach approximately 67,500 additional students and engage approximately 800 additional researchers. It will also allow PIR to have the VROC website and outreach materials translated, in order to actively engage and better service francophone schools across the province.

In addition to Reaching Every Student, VROC also offers weekly podcasts in Science Education, Technology Education, Engineering Education, and Science Careers. The Youth STEM funding will allow Partners In Research to expand their existing weekly podcast program to include a Why Math? series, which is designed to educate young people about the practical uses of mathematics studies and potential careers in math.

Youth STEM Initiative

FedDev Ontario's Youth STEM provides funding to eligible not-for-profit organizations to expand, enhance and coordinate the reach and impact of educational outreach programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for children and youth in kindergarten through grade 12. The initiative is designed to encourage young people to pursue further studies and careers in these fields, creating a future talent pool that is well-positioned to fuel business innovation and growth in southern Ontario.

Applications for funding are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis. For more information, please refer to the program guidelines available on the FedDev Ontario website at

Contact Information:

Stephanie Thomas
Special Assistant - Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario