A unique partnership between the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology of India, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

On June 2012, the Department of Biotechnology and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate in scientific and technological research to alleviate some of the world’s most critical global health and development issues over a period for the benefit of people in India and developing countries worldwide.

BIRAC, a public sector undertaking of Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, has been entrusted the responsibility of implementing this activity, through Program Management Unit (PMU) launched the Grand Challenges India (GCI) to support initiatives that could dramatically change the health and development landscape in India and other countries facing similar challenges. Specifically, it identifies the following priorities for cooperation:

  • Reduction of maternal and child mortality and morbidity;
  • Scientific and technical solutions for infectious diseases;
  • Strengthening India’s scientific translation capacity;
  • Scientific and technical advances related to agriculture;
  • Scientific advancement in food and nutrition;


Core Principles of the Partnership are:

  • Strategic and well-articulated grand challenges serve both to focus research efforts and    to capture the imagination and engage the world’s best researchers.
  • Projects are selected based on national and societal need and transparent calls for proposals seeking the best ideas.
  • Funders, investigators and other stakeholders actively collaborate to accelerate progress and integrate advances to ensure these advanced technologies reach to developing countries masses.
  •  Projects are selected not only for scientific excellence, but also for their likelihood to achieve the desired impact, and they are milestone-driven and actively managed to that  end.
  • All initiatives approved by the strategic partnership will be conducted and managed in a manner that ensures “Global Access”.  Global Access requires that the knowledge and information gained through the initiative be promptly and broadly disseminated and developments funded through such initiatives be made available and accessible at an affordable price to people most in need within developing countries.