New Delhi (ISJ): India will set up innovation clusters in five universities to nurture and promote techno-entrepreneurship in biotechnology amongst young researchers. This was announced by Sam Pitroda, Advisor to Prime Minister in New Delhi on Wednesday (Jan 22). Pitroda said, five pilot incubation centres were selected on the basis of the level of research in these universities in the subject.
He said, progressively such innovation clusters will be set up in 25 Universities in the coming years. The novel initiative is being launched jointly by the National Innovation Council headed by Pitroda and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, BIRAC under the Department of Biotechnology. Students pursuing post-doctoral and post-graduate courses would be provided with all facilities required to pursue innovative research and translate it into profitable enterprises. In the first phase, incubation centres will be set up in Anna University, Chennai, Punjab University, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur and University of Agricultural Research, Dharwad (Karnataka). Each centre will select six young researchers and the selected researchers will get a fellowship of Rs. 50,000.00 in case of post-graduate and Rs. 1,00,000.00 to post-doctoral researchers. The fellowships would be for three years. The infrastructure and guidance, including support for preparing business plans and ensuring proper protection of intellectual property rights, will be given by these universities and its research faculties. The industry will also pitch in to support the research projects and absorb products or processes developed by the young innovators. The programme would also aim at leveraging existing resources from complementary private and public support programmes, institutions. Pitroda felt, India has the human resource capital to be the world leader in biotechnology, which has a growth potential much higher even to IT sector. However, it requires an investment of 5-6 billion dollars for the next decade to achieve the result at such a magnitude. K. Vijayaraghavan, Secretary in the Department of Biotechnology said the roll-out from these incubation centres is expected by the end of next year. He said all programmes currently operated by BIRAC would also be accessible to the researchers under the new initiative.