India to launch “Grand Challenges” programme to promote child health, agriculture, and nutrition research
The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) will soon be launching a “Grand Challenges” programme with a $25mn investment backing from the Gates Foundation and $25mn from India?s Department of Biotechnology (IDB). The aim of the programme is to increase the speed at which research products involving family and child health, agriculture, food, and nutrition reach the application stage.
The programme?s $50mn support will be spread across 5 years and will bring together entrepreneurs and scientists to identify bottlenecks in product development, such as policies and regulations, that may have a negative impact on India?s Biotech development target of reaching $100mn value by 2025.
Promoting R&D entrepreneurship should also have a positive impact on the opportunities for India?s Biotechnology students studying at a Master?s and Doctorate level by encouraging innovation and expansion of Biotech SMEs.
Finally, the programme will also look to overcome the challenges that face public-private partnerships through aligning the objectives of both sectors and facilitating communication between the two.
In combination, this programme has the potential of boosting development of research areas that are key to India?s Biotech growth. The societal benefits would be an increase in innovation in areas of healthcare and agriculture in combination with promoting employment for the rising number of highly educated students. Lastly, by focusing on eliminating bottlenecks in R&D, and increasing public-private collaboration, the programme will add value in furthering India?s expanding Biotechnology sector.
– Jonathan Mackinnon