BIRAC-Call For Proposal

BIRAC Announces Special Call For Proposals Under PACE Scheme 15th February - 31st March, 2021

Biotechnological research and development in India is largely carried out by academic institutions (universities/research organizations) and to some extent by industry (mostly large companies). By virtue of their strong infrastructure & technical capability academic/ research establishments are mandated to research on variety of problems of national importance and societal relevance. Also, unlike industry, research by academia is not governed by commercial gains alone thus allowing them to work on problems involving even high degree of risk.

To encourage/support academia to develop technology/product (up to PoC stage) of societal/ national importance and its subsequent validation by an industrial partner, BIRAC has launched PACE (Promoting Academic Research Conversion to Enterprise).  

The scheme has two components as below:

1. Academic Innovation Research (AIR): 

The objective of Academic Innovation Research (AIR) scheme is to promote development of Proof-of-concept (PoC) for a process/product by academia with or without the involvement of industry 

2.Contract Research Scheme (CRS):

Contract Research Scheme (CRS) aims at validation of a process or prototype (developed by the academia) by the industrial partner

Under the present call, proposals are invited ONLY in the following PRIORITY AREAS:


BIRAC through its programmes has been playing a pivotal role in strengthening the biotech sector across the entire product development chain. BIRAC through its flagship schemes has been supporting projects from industries and academia across various field of biotechnology such as devices, diagnostics, drug, drug delivery, biotherapeutics, stem cells and regenerative medicine, vaccines, industrial biotechnology, veterinary sciences, aquaculture, agriculture and secondary agriculture.

Efforts were concentrated towards enabling the industry and academia to develop and validate the products/technologies to reach pre-commercialization stage. Recent pandemic has further pushed the ever rising need for self-reliance and self-sustainability in the field of biotechnology to meet the country specific needs and fill the gaps. The same has been emphasized by the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India.

In order to boost the Indian Biotechnology sector and promote the research and development in key areas of biotechnology, through this call, emphasis is being laid on development of indigenous technologies and products. Keeping up with the mandate of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” and realizing the potential of Indian Biotech Ecosystem in making India self-reliant and self-sustainable, proposals are invited from eligible companies, LLPs and academia in the following areas:

  1. Components of diagnostic kits including reagents, probes, primers and other components needed for diagnostics

  2. Development of novel technologies for production of monoclonal antibodies for therapeutic applications and diagnostics

  3. New methods/technologies for Vaccine delivery and Cold chain distribution of Vaccines

  1. Cost effective production technologies for Industrially relevant bio-based import substitutes

  2. NGS based workflows for high volume screening including mutation detection

  3. Technologies to enhance shelf life of packaged foods

  4. Field usable diagnostic kits for disease and algal toxins relevant to aquaculture

  5. Microfluidics based diagnostics relevant to Veterinary Sciences

  6. Cost effective production technologies for APIs, intermediates, high value products, polymers, surfactants, fine chemicals, dyes, pigments, flavors and fragrances

  7. Repurposing of Drugs


Agriculture plays a vital role in the Indian economy with over 70 per cent of the rural households depending on agriculture for their livelihoods. Agriculture contributes to around 17-18% of the country’s GDP and provides employment to around 60% of the population. Though important, the sector hasn’t been able to perform to its potential. To meet the forthcoming demand and challenges, there is an urgent need to develop and adopt new eco-friendly technologies for increasing our crop productivity.

Since long, it has been recognized that crops and soils are not uniform within a given field. Over the last decade, various technical methods have been developed utilizing modern electronics to respond to field variability. This includes geographic positioning system (GPS)-based agriculture, site-specific and precision farming (precision agriculture) which includes computer-oriented technologies, agricultural decision support software, sensors and monitoring systems, GPS and mapping systems, predictive modelling technologies, and unmanned aerial surveillance (UAS) and imaging, etc. Application of these modern technologies would not only bring about considerable reduction in use of agricultural inputs such as water, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc. but would also provide opportunity to automate and simplify the collection and analysis of information. This in turn is expected to help the farmers to take more informed and precise decisions for judicious use of various agricultural inputs.

The Government of India has also launched a number of Initiatives in this direction. The Soil Health Card Scheme is one such major initiative under which soil samples of individual farmers are tested and analysed in various soil testing labs to determine nutritional status and make crop-wise recommendations of fertilisers to enable them to achieve higher productivity. While government is doing it’s utmost to assist the farmers to improve farm productivity through efficient use of agricultural inputs, academia and start-ups too can play a pivotal role in this national endeavor by developing and commercializing low cost, easy to use devices and diagnostics for on the spot soil and plant health assessment. It is in this background that the present Call for Proposals has been announced in the field of Plant diagnostics and Soil Health Management. The specific topics covered under the call are as below:

(i) Soil Health Appraisal

  • Development of efficient and low cost sensors for
    estimation of moisture, macro and micronutrients, organic
    matter, etc. for assessing and analyzing soil fertility at farmers’ field to decide on soil amendments and suitability of crops for that particular site

  • Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), and Remote Sensing (RS) techniques for capturing variability in physical properties and soil fertility in specific fields

  • Application of Big data analytics tools and techniques, IOT, etc. for soil health monitoring.

  • Tools/techniques for estimation and diagnostics of both pathogenic as well as beneficial organisms in the soil

    (ii)Plant Health Assessment & Monitoring

  • Development of sensors/simple tools for assessing nutritional status/ deficiencies in plants for proper fertilizer application

  • Rapid, specific and low cost diagnostic kits for on-site detection of various plant diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes, etc. to minimize production losses

  • Use of remote sensing, AI, Drones, etc. for Real-time monitoring and forecasting of crop-specific pests and diseases

  • Use and development of DNA probes/DNA chips/Nano sensors and other plant diagnostics methods for detection of diseases in the field

  • Development of Tools and Technologies for preventing Post Harvest Losses

  • Other related activities

The proposals can be submitted under PACE scheme of BIRAC.

The scheme has two components as below:

1. Academic Innovation Research (AIR):

The objective of Academic Innovation Research (AIR) scheme is to promote development of Proof-of-concept (PoC) for a process/product by academia with or without the involvement of industry 

Eligibility Criteria for Academic Innovation Research (AIR):

  1. Types of projects to be supported :

Projects with well-established proof-of-principle leading to development of prototype of a product /technology of national relevance or commercial potential

(Basic/exploratory research, projects without well-established Proof of principle or   with no or low commercial potential will not be supported)

  1. Duration of project :  up to 24 months (BIRAC’s Technical Expert Committee at its discretion may recommend for increased duration of the project depending upon the nature of the research study)                   
  2. Funding Support (Grant): Total cost of the project must not exceed Rs. 50 lakhs (Non-recurring cost must not exceed 10% of the total cost)
  3. IPR :        IP rights may be with academia alone, or jointly shared between academia and industry (if academia establishes PoC with industry) as per the understanding between the two partners   



B.      Contract Research Scheme (CRS):


Contract Research Scheme (CRS) aims at validation of a process or prototype (developed by the academia) by the industrial partner

Eligibility Criteria for Contract Research Scheme (CRS):

  1. Academia must have an established Proof-of-Concept (PoC) as evident by scientific data ready for validation by the industry in contract research mode

       2.  Duration of the project : No time limit

  1. Funding Support (Grant):  Funding in the form of grant is provided to both academic as well as industrial partners. While funding is provided to the academia for In-House research which forms a part of validation of the Proof of Concept, funds are provided to the industrial partner for validation. There is no ceiling to the funding 
  2. IPR :  Although the IP rights reside with the academia, the industry partner has first right of refusal for commercial exploitation of the New IP

View RFP

A.         Academic Innovation Research (AIR):

(a)   Under the scheme, academia (Public or Private Institute, University, NGO, or Research Foundation) having a well-established support system for research shall be the primary applicant. It can apply either:

                 (1)  Individually, or

                 (2) Jointly with academic* and/or industrial** partner

*        For Public or Private Institute, University, NGO, or Research Foundation, proper registration/accreditation from a government body is mandatory

**      Participating company (if any) should be registered under the Indian Companies Act, 2013 with at least 51% Indian shareholding i.e., shares of the Company should be held by Indian Citizens holding Indian passport (Indian citizens do not include Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) holders)

(b). The applicant Company should have adequate in-house facility to address the project implementation or incubated with any of the recognized incubation facility.


B.      Contract Research Scheme (CRS):

(a) Academia* has to be the Primary Applicant with one or more partners of which at least one is a company** 

(b). The applicant Company should have adequate in-house facility to address the project implementation (which shall be evaluated during the site visit) or incubated with any of the recognized incubation facility.

Announcement Date: 15-02-2021
Last Submission Date: 31-03-2021 05:30 PM

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