BioVoice News June 2016 Issue 2 Volume 1 - Page 11

Besides being the Managing Director at the BIRAC, Dr Renu Swarup is also a Senior Advisor at the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. During her close to 27 years of service, Dr Swarup has spearheaded many initiatives, projects and programs on variety of topics at the DBT. She played a key role in getting BIRAC created and making it operational. “ types of startups, ones that get our direct funding as well as the indirect funds. The indirect ones may not get direct grants from us but they are getting incubated at the incubation centres supported by us. Lot many fresh entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds must be applying for the grants. Are there any new experiences that you would like to share with us? re submissions in our calls. Sometimes they might not fit in a specific call for grant; they might fit into another call. The quality of projects is definitely getting better. I won’t say that that they are totally out of box ideas but yes mostly innovative solutions for India. How much funds have been allocated to the BIRAC’s budget? Has there been any hike this year? As we are growing the competition is getting tougher and tougher. We are witnessing that the quality of projects is getting better and the small kitty of funds is getting larger. I think the entrepreneurs will have to be very careful in what they choose to become. It is important for them to choose the novel ideas. These should be novel in the sense that we are not only looking at the breakthrough innovations or absolutely new globally but those ones which are addressing the issues in India. Currently, we only fund the novel India specific innovations with a global appeal. Wherever we have seen that the bio-entrepreneurs have done market assessment, they do well. Therefore, I advise them to do a proper assessment before they take up any idea. Happy to inform you that BIRAC is witnessing increase in its budget allocation by nearly about 15-17% which is fairly good. We are also shortly launching the equity fund that was announced last year. The delay had been due to the funding issues. But now we are hopeful that we would be able to announce it in the first half of the year itself. The current success ratio is merely 15-17%. But that doesn’t mean that the rest 83 to 85% of ideas are to be junked. We have limited funds in our kitty and thus we have to take only the best. But we do advise them to come back. We have lot of We have finalised the 14 awardees in February this year and are working closely with the DeitY on various possibilities. We might announce a challenge or a problem area for the The overall budget has been roughly about Rs 200 crore in last two years. Out of that, Rs 100 crore came directly from the DBT and the rest of amount was mobilized through international partners such as Wellcome Trust, Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation and many others. We also partnered with Department of Electronics (DeitY), Government of India. Our action plan is to have 4,000 startups in next 45 years. While we are nearly touching 500 currently, we are aiming at least minimum 2,000 by 2020. This figure refers to both the types of startups, ones that get our direct funding as well as the indirect funds. How much of the ideas presented to the BIRAC are really junkable? Do you find all of them innovative? What has been the progress on the project being spearheaded in partnership with the Department of Electronics? BIOVOICENEWS.COM 11