The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) celebrated its 6th Foundation Day on Tuesday, March 20th, at the India Habitat centre in New Delhi. This year, the theme for the Foundation Day celebration was ‘Sustaining Innovation: A market driven pathway’. The event saw a participation from large number of dignitaries from the industry and academia, public and private sector, policy makers and national and international organizations.
The Foundation Day celebration was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. In his address, the honourable minister mentioned about the need for a collaborative approach for identifying and solving the problems of the nation.
Prof Vinod K Paul, Hon'ble Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Govt. of India, was the guest of honour of the event. He provided many recommendations to the august audience, including the need of more focus in primary healthcare sector.
In his opening remarks, Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST & DBT and Chairman, BIRAC appreciated the tremendous contribution of BIRAC to the nation. He mentioned that BIRAC is a unique organisation which supports innovation in both public and private sector.
“BIRAC has over the years facilitated the creation of vibrant start up ecosystem. We are pleased that we are seeing the impact of this ecosystem in not only providing affordable solutions for societal problems but also enhancing innovation competence. It is now important to develop robust pathways to sustain these innovations”, said Dr Renu Swarup, Senior Advisor, DBT & Managing Director, BIRAC.
Prof. G Padmanabhan, former Director and current Honorary Professor of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, was felicitated in the event. The second volume of his memoir titled “Doing science in India: My second innings” was also released. Names of the preliminary winners of the SoCH (Solutions for Community Health) award were also announced. This award is an innovation challenge award under two themes, ‘platform technologies for reducing disease burden’ and ‘sanitation and waste recycling’.
“The foundation day plenary talks and panel discussions are aimed at building momentum for health and development initiatives via innovations and foster scientific collaboration among national and international groups. The focus of this event is on sustaining and survival of start ups in the market after their launch”, mentioned the press release from BIRAC.
BIRAC is non-profit public-sector enterprise set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology to promote emerging biotech industry and to undertake strategic research and innovation. Through various schemes and collaborations, BIRAC is promoting novel, high quality affordable technologies. BIRAC has over 10 flagship schemes supported by DBT and manages 7 programs collaboratively funded with international partners. In the last six years, BIRAC has supported over 650 projects, and more than 500 start ups and entrepreneurs. It has also developed a strong support network across the country through its 30 supported incubators and 2 regional centres for entrepreneurship. Over 100 products and technologies have been developed through BIRAC support and 150 Intellectual Property Rights have been generated so far.