Updated on 22 October 2012
Industry-academia meet focuses on innovation in India
New Delhi: India's department of biotechnology (DBT) and biotechnology industry research assistance council (BIRAC) have for the first time ever held a meeting called ‘Innovation for Affordable Product Development' from October 15-16, 2012, at Manesar, Haryana. The event saw bigwigs of biotech industry and academia mingling with each other on a government sponsored platform. The event's focus was on innovators, who interacted, networked and discussed successful case studies, challenges and opportunities for strengthening the biotech enterprise.
In his opening remarks, Dr G Padmanabhan, NASI-Chairman and former director, Indian Institute of Science, talked about the relevance of sharing information. He exhorted the persons in the sector to come out of their shells and be more proactive. "In earlier times, industry used to be after academia but now we see that it is vice versa. SBIRI and BIPP have been instrumental in bringing about that change," said Dr Padmanabhan. Speaking further on the current status of projects in diverse verticals of the biotech sector, he said that, "In biopharma, there are various products that are still in pipeline and the development is still not complete. We hope to see more and more of them seeing the light of the day soon. Also I feel the focus should be more on vaccines. In agri-biotechnolgy, while we have only Bt cotton as a successful product, others that could have made impact have been lost in between efforts."
Sounding highly enthusiastic, Dr M K Bhan, secretary, DBT, in his address to the gathering, said that, "Lets keep working towards the future and see ourselves as architects of the same step-by-step. In the next 30 years, we must be known as global leaders. For that we require to work towards building a strong system of innovation. Empowerment of young innovators in various areas is one of the strategic keys to achieve that. Also we must understand the supply and demand or push and pull thoroughly."
Dr Bhan also asked public institutes to be more forthcoming. "Public sector science must produce knowledge that can empower the industry. However, the question to be asked is whether we as academia are doing enough for pushing the innovation?," he asked.
Dr Renu Swarup, managing director, BIRAC, while welcoming the delegates said, "I hope this forum helps you all in identifying the opportunities to collaborate and work together for laying down a road map for the future." BIRAC, a recently established public sector organization of the DBT, ministry of science and technology, aims at empowering and enabling the biotech innovation ecosystem for affordable product development. One of the key strategies of BIRAC is fostering innovating capabilities in all places of research and with a focus on startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).