Many students are aspiring to make career in biotechnology. This section aims to provide information to students which will prove useful to them while making biotechnology career. Information will be pertaining to institutes, training and short term courses, libraries, research opportunities, job opportunities etc.
Finishing Schools for Biotechnology Students
Problem of Skill Deficit
One of the major complaints of all biotech companies is that there is considerable skill deficit observed in students graduated in biotechnology. Indian biotech sector continues to face acute shortage of specialists. The shortage is especially in the area of discovery-led drug development. Fields which requires properly trained personnel is big and includes more experienced hands in medicinal chemistry, oncology, in vivo pharmacology and drug delivery, or those with in-depth knowledge of target discovery. Some grieve over shortages of multifaceted scientists — those versed in technology transfer, IPR management, early discovery and innovation, technology management and clinical services.
The number of life science graduates and post-graduates is increasing due to many institutes offering the courses. But growth is quantitative and not qualitative. There is always a doubt expressed about Quality of training, Quality of teaching, Contents of syllabi taught, practical experience etc. Students do have basic knowledge of principles and techniques, overall exposure in certain cases but it is more classroom oriented or research oriented. 70% of the students are feared to be becoming redundant and what they often lack is awareness about patents and procedures concerned, regulatory affairs, Quality Assurance requirements, Hand-on experience, Specific skills, communication skills etc.
The biotech education curricula should include or rather emphasize on courses, project works, exposure to national and international industry profiles, and information on venture capitalists so as to inculcate entrepreneurial zeal among graduates.
Following are some of the initiatives taken by some private companies and by Department of Biotechnology to develop Finishing Schools to improve job potential of deserving students. Finishing schools add value to the qualification of biotechnology students. Finishing schools are important to fill the skill gap. Creation of right talent pool will be possible with the help of Finishing Schools.
(1) Department of Biotechnology runs 140 programmes in 70 Universities to give specialized training in different areas such as nutrition, environment, marine biotechnology, bioentrepreneurship and bioinstrumentation.
(2) Biocon Ltd. Bangalore has ‘Biocon Academy’ which runs 16 week full-time course for biotechnology graduates. Biocon Academy is located at Biocon House, Semicon Park, Electronic City Phase II, off Hosur Road, Bangalore. Biocon Academy will have a placement cell to enable the placement of all the students who complete the course. The entire application process is online through www.bioconacademy.com or kgi.edu. The certification will enable career options in R&D, regulatory affairs, production and quality control – assurance in the biopharmaceutical sector across countries engaged in the research and production of vaccines, recombinant therapeutic proteins, monoclonal antibodies, etc. ‘Biocon Academy’ will accommodate 30 students. The certificate is being offered jointly by Biocon and The Keck Graduate Institute, California which is a registered institute under the US law and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
(3) HiMedia Pvt. Ltd. of Mumbai run short term courses in Molecular Biology, Instrumentation etc.
(4) Bangalore Biotech Labs Pvt. Ltd. (Biozeen) has started providing training in biofacility requirements with hands-on practical experience. BiOZEEN offers practical training in a fully fledged pilot plant facility built according to current good manufacturing practice guidelines. The pilot plant has all the necessary equipments for upstream and downstream processes. Trainees have a free reign to operate the equipment, helping them to build confidence in their practical skills. Currently, more than 100 persons are trained every year at this facility. Dr Anil Paul Kariath, is President of Bangalore-based biotech finishing school BioZeen.
(5) MITCON, Pune – MITCON’s Technology Business Incubator & Training Center is sponsored & supported by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India & APCTT, UN New Delhi. It is also approved by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME), Govt. of India. An Integrated project having state of art biotechnology laboratory, training facility and consultancy wing for various disciplines in Bio-Technology, Agriculture, Food Processing and Pharmaceutical has been set up to boost commercialization through incubation & training. The centre houses facilities for Microbiology, Tissue Culture, Bio-fertilizer, Bio-pesticides, Genomics, Plant tissue culture sales and supply center, Bioinformatics laboratories. MITCON’s Incubation & Training facility is located in central part of Pune at Shivajinagar inside Agriculture College campus. MITCON BIO-PHARMA Center, Pune is sponsored by Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India & APCTT New Delhi. We provide integrated projects & courses with hands on training facility for various disciplines in Biotechnology. The center house facilities for Biotechnology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Bio-informatics, Plant Tissue Culture, Bio-fertilizer, Bio-pesticides, Advanced Biotech Incubation and Entrepreneurship Development, information repository and consultancy services. Refer to various short term courses and training programme details to www.mitconbiotech.webs.com
(6) There are 12 finishing schools in Karnataka in 8 districts in various institutes. These include (a) Visvesvaraya College of Applied Sciences, Gulbarga, (b) Manipal University, Manipal, (c) St Aloysius College, Mangalore, (d) JSS University, Mysore, (e) Oxford College of Science, Bangalore, (f) Maharani Lakshmi Ammani College for Women, Bangalore, (g) Padmashree Institute of Management, Bangalore, (h) PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore, (i) Siddaganga Institute of Technology, Tumkur, (j) Probiosis, Bangalore, (k) MM Arts & Science College, Sirsi, and (l) Dayanandsagar Institution, Bangalore, (m) Shanthinagar in Bangalore. Admissions for Karnataka Biotechnology Finishing Schools (BTFS) are through online entrance test. DBT (Department of Biotechnology) is sponsoring Rs 5000/- as fellowship per student per month in an effort to empower human resource in Biotechnology sector through BTFS. Log on to www.btfskarnataka.org for more information.
(7) Probiosys, the first biotech company in Karnataka is to start a finishing school in India. It will receive assistance from the state government upto 25 percent of the cost of equipment and instruments. The institute was chosen for the grant by a committee chaired by former IISc Director, Prof G Padmanabhan.
As per the guidelines issued by the Government, the courses need to be conducted over duration of one year, which includes six months of course work and six months of internship. The Institutes will initially be allowed to procure equipment and other gadgets relevant to the course. Thereafter the selection committee will scrutinize the procurement details and inspect the Institutes for release of funds. The finishing schools will be monitored by the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) and will need to be accredited by a university. Some of the subjects that the finishing schools will train students in, include bio-processing, bio-informatics, bio-sensors and cellular and molecular diagnostics.
Probiosys helps professionals to learn, acquire and implement. Rapid microbiology is an emerging technology and will take some time for Indian companies to adopt it. Within the next 10 years it is going to change people’s perception to microbiology.
(8) Biotech Park, Lucknow setup by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Department of Science & Technology, Government of U.P. has started six months Certificate Course in 2012-2013.The candidates may be required to undergo a written test/ interview.
This unique course aims to empower students with skills to make them employable in biotech industries both in research and service areas. They will be getting hands on training at various industrial units / facilities of Biotech Park. They will learn concepts of good laboratory practices, good manufacturing practices, IPR, bioethics, communication skills, project writing and regulatory requirements regarding toxicity testing & setting up of new units.
(9) India’s first of its kind Biotech finishing school, Sangene Biotech / Sangenomics Research Labs established in 2004, a registered center in Bangalore offers research and training solutions to students and industries alike in the areas of Molecular Biology, Fermentation technology, Microbiology, Enzymology, Plant Tissue Culture, Immunology and Proteomics. It has grown to cater to the ever changing scenario of science.
(10) St Aloysius College in Mangalore is also offering the course in two disciplines – namely – fermentation and bio processing and plant tissue culture. Fermentation and Bio processing was offered in the college during the last academic year and the students have been placed in Biocon, India. This year the college is open for even plant tissue culture. Candidates who have cleared their master’s degree in life science, biotechnology, microbiology, biochemistry, bioinformatics or any other life science related courses or BE/BTech in biotechnology, bioinformatics, bachelor of pharmacy, agriculture, veterinary sciences, MBBS and BDS are eligible for the course and may apply.
(11) Lotus Clinical Research Academy, is a Bangalore-based clinical research academy that trains biotechnology graduates in clinical research. Mr. Sudhir Pai is the managing director.
(12) Finishing school in Biotechnology (FSBT) is a unique programme funded by the Kerala State Planning Board, especially aimed at carving the industrially ready technocrats in the field of Biotechnology. This idea was initially conceived in the state of Karnataka with the emerging reports that the post-graduates in Biotechnology fresh from the campuses are not sufficiently equipped to suffice the needs of fast growing and diverging industry. Thus 12 FSBTs were started and running in Karnataka. CPBMB is taking up the first FSBT in Kerala.
This programme will be of 12 months duration, with the first three months for in-house training on molecular techniques, second three months for industrial training at various firms and last six months for training on entrepreneurship development. The hands on technical exposure will be provided in the areas of plant tissue culture, plant molecular breeding, molecular marker analysis, characterization and exploitation of beneficial microbes, fermentation and bioprocessing, cellular and microbial diagnostics, protein expression and scale-up, biosensors and medical devices, neutraceuticals and food industry, plant genetic transformation, bioinformatics and rational drug discovery, pre-clinical research, clinical research, biostatistics and data management. Training is offered to 20 students every year. Fees are Rs. 20,000/ per year. Admissions are given to M. Sc. and B. Tech. students. Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Molecular biology (CPBMB) under Kerala Agricultural University is a recognized centre of Department of biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, for plant biotechnological research and post-graduate studies. The centre is equipped with state of the art facilities for plant biotechnological research including genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and cell and tissue cultures. Further, these activities are supported by a fully functional DBT funded Bioinformatics Centre.
(13) Manipal Life Science Centre (MLSC), one of the important research hubs of Manipal University, is ranked number one biotech school in Karnataka and number three among private schools in the country.
(14) The Government of Karnataka will replicate its biotechnology finishing schools in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha.
(15) Ventura Institute of Biosciences – a division of Ventura Research Foundation, at Hyderabad started with a finishing school concept to bridge the gap between Academics & Industries. Ventura Institute of Biosciences imparts training in various Bio-Tech courses with the state of art technology Research centre, having both dry and wet labs, facilitating the students to equip themselves with the latest and advance technological courses, specifically oriented to the needs of the industry. In the present scenario, Industries calls for trained people to take up the positions ready to handle. Ventura provides this, by training the students with hands on Practical at par with the Industry experience.