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Infrastructure Development and Centres of excellence

Infrastructure and capacity building are the two columns on which any structure needs to stand to progress, and over the years, the DBT has taken several steps towards meeting that end

Key initiatives
  • Establishment of a comprehensive facility for diagnosis and management of genetic disorders, RMRC, Dibrugarh.
  • Development/upgradation of infrastructure in Medical colleges in North Eastern States of India.
  • Short term training on recent technique in infectious disease diagnosis for mid-career scientist of NER.
  • Research methodology workshop for North East.
  • Establishment of Biotech Hubs.
  • North Eastern Bioinformatics Network (NEBINet).
  • DBT’s e-Library Consortia (NER-DeLCON).
  • Online human resource repository of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics resources of North East India (BABRONE).
  • Ferment Base: A database on the fermented food of North Eastern Region of India
  • Development of Digital Database of Bioresources of NE India.

The DBT programme on Development/Up-gradation of Infrastructure in Medical Colleges in the NER was started in the year 2009. The programme is now operational in 12 medical colleges / institutions in four states of the Region, namely Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur.

The laboratories of 21 Principal Investigators have been renovated/upgraded for carrying out quality research on various health problems prevalent in the region using modern biotechnology tools and technologies.

Various scientific equipments including 27 high cost equipments such as flow cytometer, Real-Time PCR machine, Hi-speed centrifuges, -80 freezers etc. have been procured and are being installed. Several of these laboratories are now ready for commissioning for Phase II of this programme. Fresh proposals are being processed.

Establishment of Biotech Hubs for the North Eastern States

A Biotech Hub Scheme was initiated during the year 2010-11with the broad purpose of promotion of education and research in Biology, Life Science or Biotechnology.

Institutes, colleges and universities in the NER offering undergraduate and / or postgraduate courses are supported for three years to establish or upgrade a basic biotechnology lab, develop a bioinformatics centre, avail of biotechnology e-journals, support for organising training for teachers etc., if they have these course in any branch of

  • Biology
  • Life Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Science
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Computer Science
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Agriculture Science
  • Veterinary Sciences

During the year 2010-11, ix state-level and 34 institutional-level Biotech Hubs were established in various academic and research institutions in the NER.

These facilities will impart research insight among the budding science students at their formative stage of science education (UG/PG level) and research career (PhD level). So far 92 colleges/universities/institutes have been sanctioned institutional level biotech hubs.

The Biotech Hub Scheme provides following facilities to the grantee institutes/universities:

  • A biotechnology lab with a basic set of equipment.
  • A bioinformatics centre with at least 5 computers and internet connectivity
  • Access to e-journals in biotechnology
  • Recurring budget for chemicals, glassware and internet connectivity
  • Support for training and workshops for teachers
  • Travel support for conferences and training in India.
  • Student fellowship etc.
Infrastructure Development

DBT Nodal Centre, Tezpur

Nodal Centre was established to provide logistic support for medical infrastructure program in the NER, under which 20 medical colleges have been supported.

DBT NEHU Centre

DBT NEHU Centre was set up with an objective organising trainings, workshops for faculty or research students of NER to equip them for undertaking R&D activities in niche areas of biotechnology, organising short duration visits of distinguished faculty from universities or institutes from outside NER.

Medical Infrastructure Facility was setup to support renovations, setting up lab. Training/recruitment of manpower and purchase of equipment for upgradation of infrastructure in Medical Colleges/Institutes of North East Region Colleges are being supported for a period of five years. Eleven medical colleges have been supported under this scheme so far.

Creation of infrastructure facility of labs at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong in two phases: in the first phase, infrastructural facility will be built to provide

  • basic molecular biology
  • genetics services
  • and metabolic disorders.

In the second phase, facilities to include advanced molecular biology and genetic techniques will be developed to carry out diagnostics and epidemiological research activities.

To develop infrastructure and to conduct research related to the following thrust areas, which may be established in two phases; Phase I: Genetics and molecular biology.; & Non communicable diseases; Phase II: Tissue repository & tissue microarrays; Cancer Immunology; Advances techniques in molecular biology and genetics for diagnostics and research.

Development of Infrastructural Facilities of National Research Centre on Yak (NRC on Yak), Dirang, West Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh

The project was initiated in view of strengthening in the infrastructural facilities of National Research Centre on Yak to improve the research dynamics for desirable gain in yak husbandry in India. It was one time grant of a total of Rs. 337.41 lakhs (Rs 3.37 million).

Creation of Infrastructure Facilities at NRC Mithun (ICAR), Jharnapani, Nagaland, NRC Mithun (ICAR), Jharnapani, Medziphema, Dimapur, Nagaland

This programme has been initiated to support & create infrastructure facilities at NRC on Mithun, Nagaland for better research/ academic programmes.

Human Resource Development

The following activities were initiated towards Human Resource Development in NER.

Overseas Fellowship/Associateship for NER scientists
This special programme was developed and initiated in the year 2010-11 for the early and mid-career Scientists holding permanent positions in NE region conducting research to generate human resource trained in cutting edge areas of biotechnology. The Overseas Fellowship is awarded for both short (3 & 6 months) and long (1 year) term period. In the year 2010-11, 21 scientists had availed Associateship in established institutions in different foreign countries including USA, Japan, Canada, UK, Germany and France.

During this year (2012-2013), the fellowship has been awarded to 26 candidates for 11 candidates for long term training (I year) while 15 were approved for short term (9 for 6 months and 6 for 3 months) period.

Award of Biotechnology National Associateship to Scientists working in North Eastern States

A special National Associateship Programme for training both for short term and long term has been initiated for conducting research or training in National Institutions/research laboratories in different areas of biotechnology such as (i) agriculture, food and feed biotechnology; (ii) animal biotechnology; (iii) aquaculture and marine biotechnology; (iv) food and nutrition; (v) environmental biotechnology (vi) industrial biotechnology: materials biotechnology, reaction and process design; (vii) medical biotechnology; (viii) Nano -biotechnology and bioengineering; (ix) bioinformatics and IT-enabled biotechnology; (x) intellectual property and patent law.

During the year (2012-2013), the fellowship has been awarded to 11 candidates for 2 long term training (I year) while 9 were approved for short term period.

Entrepreneurship Development in NER

During the past years, DBT had entrusted Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL) to organize a series of Comprehensive Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP) in NER. As a follow up of these programme, the Department has sanctioned a project to BCIL for handholding the budding entrepreneurs and assisting them in establishment of a successful enterprise in NER.

A training programme on entrepreneurship development for production of superior quality planting material using in vitro technology in Northeast India has been organized in The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), Guwahati.

This programme is aimed at enhancing the technical capability of the entrepreneurs and scientists researching/ engaged in mass production of tissue cultured plants and appraising them about the current development in this field.

MD/MS thesis grants

Research grant to support MD/MS thesis to PG students of Medical colleges/institutes of NER of India was initiated in 2010 to support data collection, minor equipment, book and learning resource, manuscript writing and conference travel.

The main object of this programme is to fund MD/MS-thesis research in medical colleges wherein the research would involve working on valid scientific hypothesis using modern biology/molecular biology/biotechnological tools on various themes dealing with human health/infectious disease/chronic diseases.

A total of 80 medical students have been supported during 2011-2013.

Star College Scheme

For strengthening of life science and biotechnology education and training at undergraduate level. It is expected that the scheme will improve critical thinking and ‘hands on’ experimental work In the cutting edge-technologies needed for modern biological studies at undergraduate (college) level in life sciences and more students will opt for life science as career.

  • So far 17 colleges of NER India are supported under this scheme.
Training programme on utilisation of biopesticides and biofertilisers in NE states

This aims at capacity building of local fields officials of different departments engaged in execution of organic farming and production & utilization of agro-bioinputs in 8 NE states

Training program on entrepreneurship development for production of superior quality planting material using in vitro technology

The idea is to enhance technical capability of entrepreneurs and scientist researching/engaged in mass production of tissue culture plants.

Setting Up Of Centres Of Excellence
  • For strengthening agro-biotechnology research in NER, DBT partnered with Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat to establish a “DBT-AAU centre for Agriculture Biotechnology” at AAU, Jorhat. The major focus of the centre will be a). Basic research-Gene technology, molecular breeding and microbial gene prospecting b). HRD component with strong Ph.D. programme and c). Extending technology benefits through enhanced production of bio inputs etc.
  • During the year 2012-13, establishment of DBT’s “Centres of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture Biotechnology at College of Fisheries (FAB – COE), Central Agricultural University, Lembucherra, Tripura”, with broad objectives as under:
  • DNA Barcoding of freshwater fin fishes and shellfishes of North Eastern Region: A biodiversity hotspot.
  • Standardisation of culture and captive breeding of selected indigenous ornamental fish species of NE region of India and attribute enhancement.
  • Development of breeding protocol and intensified culture of minor carps for aquaculture production enhancement in North Eastern region through diversified species culture systems.