Chennai: “Central government’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) has done excellent work in connecting and communicating with upcoming innovators. It is important to not just function as the fund provider but also to hand hold and aid young innovators to develop and scale their innovations for improved health outcomes in India,” said NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar.
He was the chief guest for BIRAC’s seventh Foundation Day in New Delhi on 19 March. Wellcome Trust former director Ted Bianco, said, “Science needs to be ready for the next major epidemic that may come our way. With new diseases developing and being found across the globe, it is vital that research focuses on targeted mitigation of these. We need to move from reactive health science to pro-active health science.”
Later, BIRAC Chairperson and Biotechnology Department Secretary Renu Swarup, said, “Biotechnology holds enormous potential for impacting economic growth of the country which has been successfully demonstrated by BIRAC over these seven years. Today, across the country, we have witnessed a growing demand for new innovation and these are technologically empowering the country. I am confident that India which has taken on a very strong leadership position will be a front runner in the global ecosystem. The key to success is scalability and sustainability.”
Discovery and Translational Sciences, Bill Melinda Gates Foundation director Chris Karp and Bill Melinda Gates Foundation Program Management Unit mission director Shirshendu Mukherjee also spoke on the occasion. The event witnessed commemoration of young innovators and scientists who made significant contributions to the fields of hygiene, sanitation and reduction of disease burden in India. Further, BIRAC celebrated women in entrepreneurship who were responsible for impactful biotech innovations through BIRAC TiE-WInER Awards.
The Foundation Day was attended by over 300 participants including innovators, policy makers, investors, academic researchers, startups and entrepreneurs. A delegation of over 20 women entrepreneurs from Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan also participated.