Biotechnology requires easy access to centres of excellence in R&D, a platform for interaction with larger mature companies, funding options and service providers. A cluster-based approach is the only way for to ensure success of enterprises in the region. In India, Bengaluru and Hyderabad have thriving clusters with presence of many R&D institutes, small to large biotech companies, start-ups, universities, talent pool and service providers to manage the available biotechnology infrastructure. However, these clusters need to establish stronger linkages and work in tandem towards a common objective and vision. Though these two biotech clusters are fully operational, more collaborations amongst the operating units, such as industry-academia linkage, technology transfer, etc., is required and expected going forward. The role of the Government cannot be understated. In addition to providing basic infrastructure, speedy regulatory clearances, investment in brand building and creating next generation infrastructure is vital.
Several states, such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana are leading with the presence of Biotechnology parks. Many other states, such as Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh are catching up, and have submitted proposals to DBT for setting up of new Biotechnology parks.
Do BT parks service the purpose for which they are started? Particularly related to knowledge creation? If not, or if partially meeting, what and where are the gaps in objectives and their fulfillment? What is needed to be done to overcome the gaps?
Biotechnology parks are established to promote innovation and facilitate product advancement through the development of biotechnology specific industrial clusters. It also aims to lay a strong foundation of innovation and research for entrepreneurs and biotechnologists. A report by ‘Research and Information System for Developing Countries' has indicated that knowledge creation in terms of scientific publications from biotechnology parks in India is around 60 articles per year (out of 600 articles per year globally). Physical Sciences and Life Sciences are two key areas of publications from these biotech parks. Further, the study indicated that collaboration between academia and industry needs to be looked into, especially in quantitative terms.
To meet the objective of their establishment, Biotechnology parks need to establish a technical committee to examine all aspiring tenants. The committee can also look into providing a strong cluster-specific business environment with focus on niche areas that add to the unique value that a cluster should provide to its occupant organisations and researchers.