In 2012, the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), where both parties agreed to collaborate on scientific and technological research to alleviate some of the world’s most critical global health and development issues, for the benefit of the people of India and other developing countries. This partnership seeks to identify opportunities to initiate and promote scientific and technological research in the country, to provide India-specific solutions for the country, which can then be adapted for use in other developing countries. Specifically, the partnership focuses on encouraging research and exploring avenues to reduce maternal and child mortality and morbidity; developing scientific and technical solutions for infectious diseases; strengthening India’s scientific translation capacity; developing scientific and technical advances related to agriculture, food and nutrition, among others.
The Program Management Unit at BIRAC (PMU-BIRAC) was set up under this MoU to bring together global funders with national stakeholders to a single platform, with not only the aim of leveraging funding from these bodies to address some of the greatest challenges we face today, but to also promote best practices, share knowledge among partners, and bring in international expertise into the country. Since its inception, PMU-BIRAC has been instrumental in managing the jointly funded programs and projects of the partnership.
PMU-BIRAC is responsible for executing, managing, and providing technical and financial oversight of collaboratively funded projects and initiatives. Currently, the team manages a wide-ranging portfolio of projects that are located across the country.
In 2016, Wellcome Trust UK partnered with the PMU-BIRAC where this unit provides technical and management support to the Affordable Healthcare in India portfolio of programs of the Trust.
PMU-BIRAC is housed at the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), in New Delhi and is currently a team of nine.
BIRAC was set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India as an Interface Agency with the aim of strengthening and empowering emerging Biotech enterprises to facilitate them in undertaking strategic research and innovation that addresses nationally relevant product development needs.
BIRAC functions as an industry-academia interface and implements its mandate through a wide range of impact initiatives, such as by providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, Intellectual Property management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to biotech firms and make them globally competitive. Since its inception, BIRAC has initiated several schemes, networks and platforms that help to bridge existing gaps in industry-academia Innovation research and continues facilitate novel, high quality affordable products development through cutting edge technologies. BIRAC has initiated partnerships with several national and global partners to participate in various collaborations.
BIRAC hosts the Program Management Unit (PMU-BIRAC) in its office in New Delhi and provides intellectual, infrastructural and logistical support to the team.