Thursday, February 26, 2009

Progress on the UNESCO Biotech Center in India

According to Yahoo India, today the Indian Science and Technology Minister, Kapil Sibal, announced the setting up of the UNESCO Regional Center for Biotechnology in Faridabad and Haryana. The agreement for the creation of the Center was apparently signed in 2006, after the proposal by the Government of India was reviewed by UNESCO's Secretariat and approved by the General Conference.

According to OrrisaLinks, the Regional Center for Biotechnology Training & Education will be a UNESCO Category II Center -- an autonomus institution fully funded by the Department of Biotechnology of the Government of India. It is expected, however, that other nations in the region will provide some funding for the Center that it will compete for research funding from international sources; UNESCO may fund specific activities of the Center according to the availability of funding.

The Center is to support disciplinary & interdisciplinary education, training and research in biotechnology in order to produce skilled human resource to drive innovative research and development in the important gap areas. It is to be part of a new industrial center serving a cluster of biotechnology industries.

The Center is to provide MS and PhD degree programs, short term training, and training for physicians, biologists and engineers through networking with local hospitals and medical & engineering schools. It is also to have a Technology Management & Enterprise Development Unit. Faridabad, in the state of Haryana, is about 25 kilometers from New Delhi, and is to be a center of innovative industries for India.

The Center is to have the provisions for Visiting Professorship for Indian Nationals & International Scientists and Adjunct Professorships; it is to provide Re-entry Grants and Young Investigator Awards.

It is to also support participants in the Stanford-India Bio-design Program, which is funded by the Government of India, Stanford University and others. Fellows of this program work in multidisciplinary teams which combine engineering, medical and business expertise to examine clinical needs in India and to identify opportunities for medical technology innovation.

A meeting was held in 2007 with a delegation from Boston University led by Robert Brown, to explore possible collaboration between that school and the new Center.

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