The Department of Biotechnology has partnered with Wellcome Trust (WT), which is a London-based “independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health, because good health makes life better”. This partnership is aimed at promoting biomedical research in India through funding and engagement. The DBT and the WT, each have committed GBP 8 million per year, for a period of ten years.
The programme is being administered by a Special Purpose Vehicle, which has been registered as The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, a public charitable trust in India. The fellowships are open to all Indians working outside of India and within India. The fellowships are also open to non-Indians willing to work in India.
The India Alliance offers Fellowships which covers the full spectrum of biomedical science from fundamental molecular and cellular studies through clinical and public health research for researchers at different stages of their careers. Since 2009, when the Fellowship Programme was initiated, India Alliance has recommended 202 Fellowships at 65 institutions in India.
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BEST-India is a programme aimed at encouraging young postgraduates and doctoral students in developing biotechnology entrepreneurship by exposing them to issues involved in commercialisation of bio-science.
The BEST programme initiated for encouraging innovation and enterprise in students has yielded in six start-up companies by the winning teams
In keeping with the advancement of global networks for the development of science and the Departments priority toward capacity building in human resources, the DBT Cutting-edge Research Enhancement and Scientific Training Award (DBT CREST Award) provides fellowships to researchers for advanced scientific training abroad.
Every year, approximately 50 fellowships are awarded, including to those from the north Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Support so far
Few achievements are
A new ORS product named STARPLUS has been developed by Christian Medical College, Vellore, India in collaboration with Flinders University of South Australia and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia. This is substantially more effective in reducing diarrhoea than the previous ORS available and eventually fewer failures of ORS and reduction in childhood mortality due to diarrheal disease. Clinical trials have been done in India and its utility has been established.
A surface modified therapeutic soft contact lenses for the culture and delivery of corneal epithelial cells under serum-free conditions for treating blinding ocular surface diseases were developed and tested clinically by L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad , India in collaboration with Centre for Eye Research and Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital, Australia. It has resulted in a cell therapy capable of restoring sight to patients that have suffered vision loss through damage to the corneal epithelium.
Graphical representation of achievements is as below:
Indo-Australian Career Boosting Gold Fellowships (IACBGF) is announced each year, under which up to ten Indian fellowships are provided for training at various institutes in Australia. Two calls have been announced so far, under which 4 fellows have been selected for carrying out research at various institutes in Australia where they are undergoing training in highly specialized areas. 8 Fellows selected in the second call will be joining their respective host institutes in Australia shortly.
MoU will be extended further and will be an open ended agreement. 10th Round will be announced next year and will also have support for industry. Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) a public sector under taking of DBT will be supporting the Industries. Academic R&D projects will be supported by DBT.
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