Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of Science and Technology, announced 75 Amrit grants for collaborative biotech initiatives, including startups, companies, academia, and research bodies in integrated collaboration on August 22, 2022.
According to the minister’s statement, the DBT-BIRAC75 Amrit team grant program will support the Prime Minister’s call for Jai Anusandhan, a Hindi term for ‘Hail Research.’ “75 inter-disciplinary, multi-institutional grants would be supported for high-risk, ambitious research ideas, milestones-driven collaborative research in all domain-specific areas of the biotech sector,” Singh said.
The minister also stated that startups and other stakeholders would be considered for assistance under this initiative. These agencies will be able to form teams in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode and will be able to obtain grants of INR 10-15 crore over a two-to-three-year period for high-quality research to put India in a global position.
The grants will be available for research in health, agribiotech, climate change, synthetic biology, and sustainable bioresource management to address “national priorities to propel India as a global leader” in biotechnology.
“Under this initiative, ambitious research ideas, high-risk, milestone-driven collaborative research for knowledge-based discoveries with broad demonstrable application from academia and industry will be considered for support,” said MoS Singh.
“This initiative builds on the deep foundation of partnerships to support new and innovative research programs, which aims to propel India to a position of global leadership,” added Singh.
The grants coincide with the government’s renewed emphasis on the domain recently. Earlier this year, a two-day Biotech Startup Expo 2022 was held in New Delhi to provide a common platform for investors and entrepreneurs to connect in one location. During the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that nearly 1,100 biotech startups emerged in the country last year.
In addition, Singh launched a single national portal in May for startups and researchers seeking regulatory approval for biological research and development in the country. The Indian biotechnology industry was valued at $63 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $150 billion by 2025, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and increased demand for biotechnology products.
Biocon and Serum Institute of India, as well as startups like MedGenome, are mainly driving the space. Eyestem, a Bengaluru-based biotech startup, raised $6.4 million in a Series A funding round led by Biological E and Alkem, among others, earlier this month.