Karnataka’s biotechnology finishing school programme, five years on

Dr S Balasubramanya, BTFS Coordinator and Dr Mittur N Jagadish, Head-BioTech Facilitation Cell, KBITS, Government of Karnataka

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Karnataka state has remained one of the major investment destinations in the biotech industry. Currently, the State of Karnataka contributes around 35 per cent of the Indian biotechnology sector. The state government has established Biotechnology Bio-Innovation Centre at Bengaluru Helix.

Theme-based biotech parks are at various stages of implementation in Bidar, Dharwad, Mangaluru and Mysuru. The state has already in place, multi-sector start-up policy with various industry specific incentives and ease of doing business measures to stimulate growth of industry in Karnataka.

Life Sciences Sector Skill Development Council (LSSSDC) has estimated life sciences industry which includes biotechnology industry to employ 1.5-1.6 million people by 2020. The sector is expected to see a possible supply gap upwards of 0.3-0.4 million, with the highest gap in the manufacturing segment.

The majority of full-time employees are distributed between marketing and manufacturing, and a limited number in R&D and other functions. Approximately, 40 per cent job roles are clustered at entry/junior level; 35 per cent at mid-level and 20 per cent at senior levels in the industry.

The junior and entry level positions that make up 40 per cent of the job roles requires attributes such as technical proficiency in laboratories, subject knowledge (basic and superior), high learning aptitude and thinking and questioning ability as key skills. Need is also felt for skill and capability building in Quality, IP and Regulatory aspects. Biotechnology industry in India is growing conservatively at 10 - 15 per cent and is said to be adding 15 to 20 per cent workforce to existing 50,000 jobs. The entry level jobs are 5 per cent of the 15 - 20 per cent workforce added each year.

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