Ministry of Science and Technology Current Affairs

BIRAC celebrates its 6th Foundation Day

The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) celebrated its sixth Foundation Day. The observance of the day was themed around ‘Sustaining Innovation – A Market Driven Pathway’.  The event was attended by large number of dignitaries from scientific and industry sectors both from within country and overseas.

Key Facts

Since its inception, BIRAC has supported over 650 projects, more than 500 start-ups and entrepreneurs and 30 incubators across the country. It has resulted in development of over 100 products and technologies and 150 Intellectual property (IP) rights being generated.

It has launched over 10 flagship schemes that are supported by funding from Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and manages 7 collaboratively funded programs with international partners. It tries to galvanize social impact by piloting research and extension services within series of thematic calls and other global definite initiatives to improve public health and beyond.

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)

BIRAC is not-for-profit Public Sector Enterprise (PSE) set up by DBT, Ministry of Science and Technology to empower emerging biotech industry to undertake strategic research and innovation. It is basically industry academia interface.

It implements its mandate through wide range of impact initiatives like providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to Indian biotech firms and make them globally competitive.

BIRAC has initiated several schemes, networks and platforms to bridge existing gap between industry-academia research and facilitate novel, high quality and cost-effective affordable technologies. It has initiated partnerships with several national and global partners to collaborate and deliver its mandate.


  • Foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Enable commercialization of discovery.
  • Promote affordable innovation in key social sectors.
  • Ensure global competitiveness of Indian enterprises.
  • Empowerment of start-ups & small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • Contribute through partners for capability enhancement and diffusion of innovation.


VAJRA Scheme: Government receives 260 applicants for visiting researcher programme

The Union Ministry of Science and Technology’s Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA) Faculty Scheme has received 260 applications from foreign scientists of whom 70 will be shortlisted.

The scheme is meant to attract top international talent to country’s research and development (R&D) ecosystem. The applicants will be screened now and the shortlisted scientists will begin work by December 2017.

VAJRA Scheme

The pilot project of the scheme was launched by Department of Science and Technology (DST) in May 2017. The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of DST is implementing the scheme. It intends to select 1,000 scientists every year.

The DST will look for scientists with experience in fields of renewable energy, water and other technology in which Indian lack expertise. Public funded academic institutions and national laboratories are eligible to host VAJRA faculties. The residency period will be for minimum of month and maximum of three months.

These institutions should appoint them as adjunct visiting faculty and involve them in co-guiding and mentoring students and developing collaborative programmes. The faculty can also be allowed to participate in other academic activities.

The applications received from interested foreign researchers will be evaluated by Selection Committee of eminent scientists. The Committee will meet twice a year in January and July and make recommendations.