• 11 May 2012
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US $25 million pledged for joint Indo-US clean energy research

India and United States are establishing an Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC), mandated to take up collaborative research in various fields including advanced biofuels. Both the governments under the programme, have committed 125 crore ($25 million) in funding over five years to research institutions in respective countries.

These consortia led in India by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad and CEPT University, Ahmadabad will bring together experts from national laboratories, universities, and industry in both India and the US to leverage their expertise and resources to unlock the huge potential of clean energy technologies that can reduce energy use and dependence on fossil fuel, and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources.The three lead Indian institutions have partnered with three lead US institutions –National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the University of Florida, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The program would be administered in India by the bilateral Indo-US Science and Technology Forum and in the US by the Department of Energy.

Research opportunity for Indian crystallography groups
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), government of India has arranged access to the synchrotron X-ray beam line (BM14) of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) at Grenoble, France, in partnership with European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The purpose is to enrich biotechnology research by application of macromolecular crystallography. This facility is open to Indian macromolecular crystallography groups. The research proposals have been invited from macromolecular crystallography groups from India to collect data at the station BM14. The proposals for data collection will be selected by a duly constituted screening and selection committee and the concerned group leaders will be intimated accordingly. The selected groups will be reimbursed travel and stay, as per rules, for the duration of data collection at Grenoble, France. However, the selected groups will have to work out the logistics of shipping the frozen crystals, by themselves.

PPP best model for quality healthcare: S&T minister
The minister for science and technology Vilasrao Deshmukh has lauded the role of public private partnerships (PPPs) in R&D programmes. The minister was speaking on the sidelines of an event to launch Ranbaxy's anti malrial drug, Synriam in New Delhi. He appreciated DST's role in supporting Ranbaxy's R&D programme and successful development of Synriam. “The collaborative effort for a cause is always important and thus this malarial remedy as an outcome, is a matter of rejoice,” added Deshmukh. He was referring to the 5 crore support provided by DST to Ranabxy.

Cabinet clears DBT-Wellcome Trust JV
The union cabinet on April 26, 2012 gave its nod to the implementation of a joint venture programme between the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Wellcome Trust on R&D for affordable healthcare in India. The cabinet also approved the proposal to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), to be operated as an independent not-for-profit Section-25 Company, to deliver the programme.

DBT and the Wellcome Trust will establish a joint funding initiative to fund research scientists developing safe and affordable healthcare products for use in India. The estimated cost of the project is 370.40 crore and both the organizations have committed an equal sum of Rs 185.20 crore over a period of five years commencing 2011-12. DBT will spend 166.60 crore in implementation of the programme during the four years (2012-13 to 2015-16) beyond the XI Plan.

The statement issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology stated that the programme will support translational and innovative research projects at Indian institutions or companies potentially leading to safe, efficacious and affordable healthcare products such as drugs, vaccines, stem cells and regenerative medicine products, bio-fortified products for nutrition, diagnostics, devices and implants, bio-equipment products and e-health. The programme is expected to stimulate innovation in academic and commercial research laboratories in India and enhance the pool of trained manpower in translational programmes as per international standards. It will provide not only funding but also add value through access to global resources and mentorship.

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