Western nations can learn from India’s innovation funding ecosystem: Nobel laureate

Western nations can learn from India’s innovation funding ecosystem: Nobel laureate

New Delhi : Nobel laureate Morten Meldal has lauded India’s research funding ecosystem, underscoring the role played by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) in facilitating and financing the innovation project.
In an interview with ANI on Friday, Meldel, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2022, expressed that Western countries can learn from India as funding agencies for research in the West are “independent” and not very well coordinated.

Meldel is on a visit to India. On Friday, he visited the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public-sector enterprise under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) that interfaces between academia and industry.
Reflecting on his visit to the company, Meldel said “BIRAC is an organisation for innovation in India. I think it’s quite impressive what you have actually done here in organising an umbrella organisation that overlooks all the different foundations. The whole innovation process is very much facilitated by this organisation. And it has direct links to the government.”
“So this is I think, an important new thing in India that we can learn from in Western countries where funding agencies are sort of independent entities, not coordinated very well. Also, all the different regulations around it and so on. It’s not coordinated. We can learn from that for sure here from India,” Meldal added.
In her speech for the 2024-2025 Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday spoke of “a new scheme of bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry” to provide “environment-friendly alternatives such as biodegradable polymers, bio-plastics, bio-pharmaceuticals and bio-agri-inputs”.
When asked about how India and Denmark can collaborate in areas of science, Meldel said the two nations can make global education in chemistry.
“And I think that it would be very nice if we could work together with other countries, including India, on how we can make a global education in chemistry,” the scientist said.
On Friday, Morten Meldal called on the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology Jitendra Singh and discussed bilateral cooperation in pharmaceuticals and the promotion of chemistry studies among schoolchildren.
Meldel was awarded jointly the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the groundbreaking development of ‘click chemistry and bio-orthogonal chemistry’.
When asked where can click chemistry be used, the Nobel laureate said: “So there’s a lot of different things that can be produced with chemistry. We use it mainly for two things. We use it for maintaining structure.”
“So if you have a protein, it’s a long chain that folds up like a bundle of something. This folding is very critical for the function of the protein. So the stability of the bundle is very important and we can stabilise that by stapling in different places on the protein with good chemistry.”

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