'Nurturing the seeds of innovation'

Within two years of its existence, the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)has made quite a mark within the sector and the world is watching this unfolding


The idea behind the setting up of BIRAC was of promoting the innovation in research development through entrepreneurship and public private partnerships. This government of India enterprise, is a new industry-academia interface and implements its mandate through a wide range of impact initiatives, be it providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, intellectual property management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to the biotech firms and make them globally competitive.

During its first year of existence after being incorporated on March 20, 2012 as a section 25, not for profit company, BIRAC has initiated several schemes, networks and platforms that help to bridge the existing gaps in the industry-academia innovation research and facilitate novel, high quality affordable products development through cutting edge technologies. The unique government enterprise has initiated partnerships with several national and global partners to collaborate and deliver the salient features of its mandate. The existing schemes that are being driven by BIRAC include Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP) and Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI).

Apart from the existing schemes, the launch of new scheme, signing of more than 100 public private partnership research agreements, supporting nearly 50 industry-academia partnership collaborations and technology acquisition for nutritional crop improvement.

The Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) scheme was announced in June 2012 in partnership with 3 partners IKP Knowledge Park, Hyderabad; for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), Bangalore and Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FIIT), New Delhi Provides support of `50 lakh (US $100,000) for high risk innovation discovery and proof of concept by first generation entrepreneurs and early start ups. The Contract Research Scheme (CRS) was announced to promote academia - industry interface; 3 calls were launched; 84 proposals were received; 88 academic and 83 industry partners are involved; 7 proposals were approved; 9 academic and 7 industry partners are involved.

BIRAC and Centre of Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) of Judge Business School, University of Cambridge have initiated a partnership that enables 5 BIRAC supported applicants to take part in CfEL's flagship intensive entrepreneurial boot-camp programme called "IGNITE", which is aimed at providing scientists and early start ups to explore entrepreneurial opportunities of their innovative ideas and transform them into a business project. In the year 2013, BIRAC selected 5 candidates from BIG grantees and Stanford India Biodesign (SIB) fellows, for the programme.


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