The Young Investigators’ Meeting (YIM) is a unique series of meetings that takes place annually. It brings together the country’s best early-career life sciences researchers, along with renowned Indian and international scientists and administrators, for interactions and discussions focusing on biology and careers in science in India. An initiative by IndiaBioscience, funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, the forum presents an opportunity for young investigators from the country to interact with scientists, policy makers, and entrepreneurs in the life sciences. Started in 2009, the series is now in its 15th year, with the last meeting taking place at Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad in February 2023.
In 2018, at the 10th Young Investigators’ Meeting in Thiruvananthapuram, the decision to begin regional versions of the YIM was made, which kickstarted the Regional Young Investigators’ Meeting (RYIM). RYIMs intended to foster local networks of scientists and science professionals with the aim to promote regional collaboration and change.
According to Karishma S Kaushik, Executive Director, IndiaBioscience, “The Regional YIMs were conceived to be scientist-driven initiatives, with support from IndiaBioscience, to promote the ethos of the annual Young Investigator Meeting among local scientific communities across India”.
RYIMs includes plenary lectures, special talks, and interactive panel discussions on a range of scientific topics, such as resource sharing, mentorship, science education, industry partnerships, challenges related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in science. Additionally, specially-curated skill-building workshops and networking sessions are organized as part of the RYIMs.
Noticing the tremendous impact of the first few RYIMs and the potential of such meetings in empowering young investigators in the life sciences from across the country, this year IndiaBioscience initiated the Regional Young Investigators’ Meeting Grants.
“Given the tremendous impact of the initial meetings in 2019 and 2020 in Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Delhi NCR and Kolkata, IndiaBioscience decided to widen the reach of the program by turning it into a grant. This year we received applications from scientist teams from all over India, and and the committee selected seven RYIM teams, who will co-organise RYIMs in Srinagar, Pune, Hyderabad, Pilani, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Lucknow in the next few months." says Kaushik.
IndiaBioscience will provide seed funding of up to INR 2 lakhs for each selected RYIM grant to facilitate the organization of the regional meeting for young investigators, students, postdoctoral fellows and science professionals. The awarded RYIM teams are groups of scientists across local research institutes, organizations, and universities. The meetings represent a diverse range of themes such as academic-industry partnerships, academic-clinic collaborations, and education and training of young scientists, among others.
"Regional YIMs are a very important way in which IndiaBioscience catalyzes the science community in India through grassroots efforts. This year, IndiaBioscience has funded seven high-quality proposals, with diverse meeting themes, co-organising institutes, and locations across India. We look forward to the networking and mentorship that these local meetings will bring forth." remarks Ron Vale, Vice-President of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and IndiaBioscience Board Member about the importance and potential impact of these grants.
Satyajit Mayor, Professor, National Centre of Biological Sciences and IndiaBioscience Board Member, adds “RYIMs have a great role to play in not only networking but also in spreading a good, collegial, and collaborative culture of doing science and effecting translation where possible”.