Biological science research in India is flourishing like never before, and the country is showing the immense potential of becoming a research hub in the pharmaceutical industry/agriculture biotechnology. According to a BIRAC report –
“we move forward in our journey to make India a $100 billion BioEconomy by 2025. We understand that a holistic approach with continuous innovation is important in developing a BioEconomy that is based on the principles of affordability, accessibility, and sustainability. Biotechnology has emerged as an integral part of the Indian BioEconomy. Currently, Indian biotech industry holds 3% of the global market share and is third largest in Asia-Pacific region. The Department of Biotechnology and BIRAC have established Biotechnology Parks and Incubators respectively across the country to translate research into products and services by providing necessary infrastructure support. These Biotechnology Parks offer facilities to Scientists, and Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) for technology incubation, technology demonstration and pilot plant studies for accelerated commercial development. The Department so far, has supported 9 Biotechnology Parks in various States.”
Another recent development is that a number of bioscience research institutes/universities are now finding places in the list of the top universities in the world.
For those aspiring to do research in this field, here is a list of top government research institutes of India–
1. Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore (https://www.iisc.ac.in/)
The Indian Institute of Science is at 185th position in the Best PhD universities by QS Global Rank and, QS WUR by Subject Ranking #51-100. Moreover, it was placed 10th Rank among universities in BRICS nations by scoring perfect scores in indices like Staff with PhD and Papers per Faculty. IISc also holds 51 rank in the list of Asian University Ranking.
IISC is armed with top-class facilities for research in Biology. And the department of Biological Sciences is engaged in frontline research in the field of modern biology. The institute has more than 40 departments spread across following six divisions:
- Biological Sciences
- Interdisciplinary Research
- Chemical Sciences
- Electrical Sciences
- Mechanical Sciences
- Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Important facts –
- 73 faculty and Scientific Staff
- 92 Fellowships of Science Academies in India,
- Nearly 423 PhD Students / Integrated PhD Students.
- 79 PhD students graduated in 2018
Aspects of modern biology dealt with by scientists in the Division –
- Infectious Disease
- Neuroscience in health and disease
- DNA Repair and Genomic Stability
- Structural Biology
- Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
- Reproductive and Developmental Biology
· Enzymology, Diverse Ecological Studies and so on
2. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) (https://www.tifr.res.in/)
TIFR is a National Centre of the Government of India, under the umbrella of the Department of Atomic Energy, as well as a deemed University awarding degrees for master’s and doctoral programs. The Institute was founded in 1945 with support from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust under the vision of Dr. Homi Bhabha. At TIFR, we carry out basic research in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science and science education. Our main campus is located in Mumbai, with centres at Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research is India’s premier institution for advanced research in fundamental sciences. The Institute runs a graduate programme leading to the award of Ph.D., Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. as well as M.Sc. degree in certain subjects. With its distinguished faculty, world class facilities and stimulating research environment, it is an ideal place for aspiring scientists to initiate their career. The Graduate Programme at TIFR is classified into the following Subjects – Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer & Systems Sciences (including Communications and Applied Probability) and Science Education. It is conducted at the Mumbai campus and various National Centres of TIFR.
TIFR takes onboard highly skilled researchers, and once completed, candidates join either BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) or CIFR laboratories in India as scientists.
The institute is one of the most premier govt research institutes for advanced research in fundamental sciences and The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) happens to be one of the national centers of the TIFR, Mumbai. The Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) is situated at TIFR in Mumbai. These units offer exciting graduate programs like PH.D., Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. as well as M.Sc. degree.
Admission is through a written entrance test conducted across India called The Joint Graduate Entrance Examination for Biology and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (JGEEBILS) for Biology, followed by a personal interviews at Mumbai (for DBS) or through submitting application and interview for short-listed candidates at Bangalore (for NCBS).
Some other institutions also accept JGEEBILS scores for selecting students. However, they follow their own admission procedure. Selected candidates get a call for an interview at these institutes based on their score in the TIFR Entrance Test for Biology (JGEEBILS). But it is important to remember that separate applications have to be sent to each institution using the JGEEBILS score.
3. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) (http://www.jncasr.ac.in/)
Located in Bangalore JNCASR is funded by the Department of Science and Technology, GoI. It is a multidisciplinary research institute and a deemed university, and in spite of being a young institute with around 50 faculty members and a little over 300 graduate students, JNCASR has already established itself an institution of repute, Globally.
JNCASR is spread over numerous disciplines, not set apart in distant laboratories and the institute fosters the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration where chemists, physicists, biologists, and engineers work together. JNCASR boasts state-of-the-art experimental, computational and infrastructural facilities and is duly armed with all necessary features to excel in scientific research and education.
Researchers are classified into nine components:
- Chemistry and Physics of Materials
- Educational Technology
- Engineering Mechanics
- Evolutionary and Integrative Biology
- Molecular Biology and Genetics
- New Chemistry
- Theoretical Sciences
Going by the numerical indications including numbers of publications, citations, grants, patents filed, etc it can be safely said that scientific study at the Centre is thriving. Research works get published in prestigious scientific journals like Nature, Science, Evolution, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, etc. and scientists get recognized by prestigious awards.
Though JNCASR supports an array of educational outreach activities, the best is their Summer Research Fellowship program.
4. National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) (https://www.niser.ac.in/)
An autonomous institute under DAE, GoI, NISER was established in September 2007. The School of Biological Sciences (SBS), the major school at NISER has developed research programs along with a vibrant teaching curriculum and conducts cutting edge research in varied areas including molecular and organism biology. 5-year integrated MSc program, PhD program and Post-Doctoral programs are on offer at NISER.
Effective interdisciplinary learning ambiance through extensive subject coverage in every fields of modern biology including – Pathogen Biology, Molecular Microbiology, Plant Development Biology, Cancer Genetics and Cellular Immunology – is the hallmark of the institution and it arms scholars to keep pace with recent developments in the field of scientific research.
5. Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) (www.iiseradmission.in)
Established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), GoI and recognised as ‘Institutions of National Importance’ by an Act of Parliament, the seven IISERs are among top research institutes of the country.
Lcated in Pune, Kolkata, Mohali, Bhopal, Thiruvananthapuram, Tirupati and Berhampur, IISERs will soon have new centres at Nagaland and UP. Each IISER is an autonomous institution and hence awards its own degrees. IISER aspires to offer research facilities of the highest quality in an intellectually vibrant atmosphere of research.
Apart from offering a 5-year BS-MS program (their flagship program), the institutes also offer integrated MS-Ph.D. and independent Ph.D. programs in Science. Subjects on offer include Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics, along with Earth and Environmental Science, Humanities, et al.
BS-MS degree from IISER are highly valued and once done, graduates often take up research and Ph.D. programs in top universities of India and abroad or join the pharma industries working in the Research & Development divisions of companies like Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s, L’oreal, Unilever, and such others. One can also join any CSIR Labs (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) at the doctoral level, and continue their research in Cellular and Molecular Biology, and Drugs Formation, Implication by taking the CSIR-NET examination.
6. National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) (www.nccs.res.in)
An autonomous organisation, NCCS, located inside the campus of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), was created to facilitate cell biology research in India.
NCCS has been playing a leading role in basic research in cell biology, addressing important health issues like cancer, metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, and regenerative medicine. The institute carries out research by using modern and conventional disciplines like stem cell biology, immunology, cellular signaling, genomics, proteomics, systems biology, structural biology, and microbial ecology.
The scientists of NCCS have been conferred with prestigious awards like Padma Shree, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards, National Bioscience Award, and Swarnajayanti Fellowship.
7. Bose Institute (http://www.jcbose.ac.in)
Asia’s first modern research center, Bose Institute was founded by Sir JC Bose in 1917 and has pioneered the concept of interdisciplinary research in Asia and India in sync with global trends. Funded by the Department of science and technology, GoI the institute offers interdisciplinary research and has done leading-edge research in biological, chemical, physical and interdisciplinary sciences for more than a century. The current research programs at the institute are being carried out in the following fields –
- Plant Biology
- Molecular medicine
- Environmental science
The institute is credited with a host of exceptionally important discoveries and produced internationally renowned researchers like Debendra Mohan Bose, Sambhu Nath De, Gopal Chandra Bhattacharya, Shyamadas Chatterjee and many others.
8. Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) (https://www.ccmb.res.in/)
The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) is considered to be a top institute in leading edge areas of modern biology. CCMB has state of the art facilities and promotes centralized national facilities in the interdisciplinary areas of biology.
Research work at CCMB include the following:
- Biology of Cells and Subcellular Complexes
- Protein and Macromolecular Assemblies
- Genetic Analysis and Genomics
- Biology of Plant Development and Disease
- Molecular Basis of Infection and Disease
- Evolutionary biology
- Wildlife conservation
9. Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) (https://www.igib.res.in/)
Initially founded as the Centre for Biochemical Technology as a part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, has primary focus on biochemical, while its main research focus is on integrative biology.
IGIB implements cutting edge genomic technologies to understand rare genetic diseases and pioneers the application of genomics for Precision Medicine in clinics. The program called GUaRDIAN (Genomics for Understanding Rare Disease, India Alliance Network) was initiated for this.
Some of the major research focus at IGIB is on Genomics and Molecular Medicine, Cardio-Respiratory Disease Biology, Chemical and Systems Biology, Chemically modified oligonucleotides for biological applications, Nanobiotechnology, Novel immunoassay procedures, Integrative and Functional Biology and Informatics and Big Data, which includes areas like Indian Genome Variation.
10. Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) (https://www.iari.res.in/)
IARI is popularly known as Pusa Institute and is considered as the mother of several ICAR institutions. IARI, where the famous green revolution bloomed, offers highly advanced research programs in agriculture in partnership with national and international organisations.
AT present IARI consists of 20 divisions in 5 multi-disciplinary centres located in Delhi, 8 regional stations, 2 off-season nurseries, 3 all India coordinated research projects headquartered at IARI, and 10 national centres functioning under all India coordinated research projects. Primary research areas at IARI include –
- Agricultural Economics
- Agricultural Physics
- Genetics & Plant Breeding
- Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
- Plant Physiology
- Soil Science & Agricultural Chemistry