DBT and ICAR Sign MoU for cooperation to promote agri biotech research

THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY (DBT) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for muchneeded emphasis on multi-disciplinary R&D (research and development) activities and nurturing innovations in agricultural biotechnology research and education.

The former has undertaken several activities and programs to promote biotechnology R&D in the areas of agriculture biotechnology. The latter has been coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture, including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.

Highlighting the importance of the MoU, Ms. Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT, said that 5-10 focussed programmes (short-, medium- and long-term) will be developed and implemented.

She added that major facilities and technology platforms created by both the agencies will be accessible to the national systems, and a joint working group will be constituted to take the partnership forward.

The collaborations would promote agri-innovations and start-ups, through the well established Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) mechanism. This flagship synergistic approach would be taken-up in mission mode through networking with the elite institutions in the country.

The specific objectives are to plan and implement jointly the mutually-agreed major national programmes through joint funding and sharing of resources in the priorities areas of agricultural biotechnology; to form common think tank of experts from ICAR and DBT and others to formulate policies; to establish a national platform/ centres for services related to genomics, genotyping, data banking, agriculture bioinformatics, genetically-modified food detection, validation of technologies such as vaccines, diagnostics of veterinary/fisheries use, molecular markers in crop and animal breeding; to formulate and introduce courses/training programmes in the area of IPR (intellectual property rights), bio-safety, biodiversity conservation and germ plasm exchange, genomic selection and breeding for use by faculty and students through appropriate mechanisms, and research prioritisation with other ministries and foreign collaborations like Indo-UK SIC, BRICS, African countries and Look East programme in relation to agricultural biotechnology.