Overview of R&D Funding In Life Science Sector In India

(Article By Chayan Sen, Funding Associate, SCPL)

The public investment in Research and Development as a fraction of GDP has remained constant for the  last two years in India. The growth in R&D expenditure should correspond in proportion to the economic  growth and should be targeted to reach at least 2 percent of GDP by 2022, according to the EAC-PM.  India’s public investment in R & D remained constant around 0.6 percent to 0.7 percent of GDP which is  below major countries such as USA(2.8 percent), China (2.1 Percent), Israel (4.1 Percent) and South Korea (4.2 Percent).

To ensure that India leaps into a leadership role in innovation and industrial R&D, the government has  brought in lots of Grant funding programs to encourage Research and Development in the country.  Funding agencies are Govt. or Non-govt. bodies providing monetary grants for scientific research areas such as Science and Technology, Social sciences, etc. In India various funding agencies are available which  provide grants for research in a variety of fields. These agencies conduct research schemes to promote  the research in India in science and/or medical stream and provide a grant for research. Potential  research projects are evaluated and only the most promising receive funding. Most research funding comes from two  major sources, corporations (through research and development departments) and government  (primarily carried out through universities and specialized government agencies). Some small amounts  of scientific research are carried out (or funded) by charitable foundations, especially in relation to developing cures for diseases such as cancer, malaria, and AIDS.

Life Science Sector is the top priority and is in the forefront. Many schemes and grants are released by  the government focusing on this sector. There are some major gaps that have been highlighted by COVID 19 where we need to be better prepared. Life sciences companies and the healthcare sector in general,  are under pressure to increase R&D productivity in therapies and drugs, regardless of whether they are  traditional pharma, med-tech, or new entrants focused on consumer health. Whether it is the  manufacture of drugs, heart monitors, or delivery of digital health platforms the common thread for life  sciences companies is to accelerate digital transformation to drive innovation.

Some major funding agencies in life science sector are: 

❖ Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) 

❖ Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH)

❖ Department of Biotechnology (DBT) 

❖ Department of Science and Technology (DST) 

❖ Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) 

❖ Industry Innovation Program on Medical Electronics (IIPME) 

❖ Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA) 

❖ Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)

❖ Department of Pharmaceuticals  

The companies or institutions in the Life Science and Health Care sector should be ready to grab the funding opportunities and try and bring their research and innovation in the forefront. The organizations should  be clear on their research objectives and goals before applying for funding as because the evaluation  process for approval of grants is very informative and detailed thus one should be clear with the  research goals and other details pertaining to the research so that there is no insufficiency of  information during the evaluation process.

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