Updated on 14 November 2012
The agency currently operates these major funding schemes:
Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI), a scheme to promote R&D in small and medium size biotech companies, as of 2012 has assisted more than 112 companies through 19 batches. An estimated amount of $90.90 million (Rs500 crore) has so far been spent under this scheme.
Biotechnology Industry Partnership Program (BIPP), envisaged as a government partnership program with industries for support on cost sharing basis for high risk discovery and innovation, accelerated technology development. The scheme provides for a government contribution of 30-to-50 percent. It supports the industry in discovery linked innovation with a grant-in-aid up to $90,909 (Rs50 lakh).
In order to promote and nurture innovative research in biotech enterprises, especially the start-ups and SMEs, the government incorporated Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) as a not-for-profit section 25 company in March this year. Apart from operational cost with an initial outlay of $127,272 (Rs70 crore), BIRAC will have an additional $27.27 million (Rs150 crore) to invest in the public-private partnership initiatives. BIRAC's Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) scheme for igniting new ideas was declared open on June, 2012. The scheme is designed to stimulate commercialization of research discoveries by providing very early-stage grants for the development and maturation of those discoveries into marketable product or intellectual property (IP), in particular to help bridge the gap between discovery and invention.
According to Dr Renu Swarup, managing director, BIRAC, "Our mandate is to take discovery forward and encourage product development by indigenous biotechnological companies. We definitely need to instill confidence in the new comers in the industry. We can see more and more people coming forward."
Department of Science and Technology (DST) initiated the Drugs and Pharmaceutical Research Program (DPRP), which has forged 101 collaborative projects so far. However, the budgetary allocation has come down sharply in the recent years. The allocation was $10.90 million (Rs60 crore) and it was revised drastically to $9.09 million (Rs50 crore) during the year 2011-12 and further slashed to $7.27 million (Rs40 crore) in 2012. The annual funding by the agency to the various schemes and fellowship programs is more than Rs2,000 crore.
Fund for Infrastructure Strengthening of Science and Technology (FIST) is another successful ongoing scheme of the DST. Dr T Ramasami, secretary, DST, said that, "The DST has funded close to 200 life sciences research projects and 29 percent of the same are related to biotechnology under different schemes. Bharat Biotech received a funding of Rs32 lakh as loan from the Technology Development Board, which has resulted in development of a product having a price of $1 per a dose."