In the past 10 years, the alliance has awarded 320 fellowships to researchers in 93 institutions across 34 Indian cities
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust ,to support a three-tier fellowship programme on biomedical research at post-doctoral level, celebrated 10 years of their joint partnership in an event in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, said that as the partnership between the Department of Biotechnology and the Wellcome Trust completes its first decade, this is an opportune moment for the India Alliance to draft its priorities for the next phase. Today, through science and technology, humans wield unimaginable power over the future of our planet. He said, “We therefore have a responsibility like never before. And scientists, particularly bio-scientists, are our soldiers and generals in the battle to safeguard our planet, our species and our future.”
The President suggested four frontlines in this battle. He said that the first is the environment. He also mentioned, “Our air, water and soil must be cleaned. While we do so, we must mitigate the consequences on human and livestock health. The second frontline is that of lifestyle diseases. Diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases are on the rise. The third frontline is infectious disease. While we take on known infectious diseases, lesser-known ones threaten to expand. The final frontline is diseases of the brain. Factors that include urban stress and a significant elderly population have left India facing a mental health epidemic. Preventive measures, relevant to our genetics and our lifestyle, are in the realm of theory, waiting to be discovered. We must discover these if our people are to age well, with full mental capacities.”
Union Science and Technology Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan while congratulating the partnership emphasised the need for added incentive for biomedical research and creating opportunities that encourage more clinicians to carry out research. The Union Minister said that he was happy to note that the DBT Wellcome Trust partnership was addressing this issue in a major way.
Other dignitaries who were present at the event including Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Prof K VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Dr Renu Swaroop and Director, Wellcome Trust, Dr Jeremy Farrar, expressed hope that the partnership in its next phase with increased vigour, will look to set up mechanisms to strengthen veterinary research, develop mechanisms to engage with universities around the country to better equip researchers there to apply and receive competitive funding for their research, look for more effectively administering collaborative research grants that aim to solve important scientific problems through an interdisciplinary approach among other things.
In the past 10 years, the alliance has awarded 320 fellowships to researchers in 93 institutions across 34 Indian cities. More than 900 PhDs, postdoctoral scientists, undergraduates and research technicians trained in the laboratories of India Alliance Fellows. Nearly 2500 researchers were trained in Science Communication workshops and more than 900 PhDs, postdoctoral scientists, undergraduates and research technicians were trained in the laboratories of India Alliance Fellows. Facilitating ‘Brain Gain’ nearly 68 per cent awardees are from India while the rest are from overseas.