Collaboration between India’s department of biotechnology (DBT) and UK’s Wellcome Trust aimed to support a three-tier fellowship programme on biomedical research at post-doctoral level, celebrated 10 years of their joint partnership at an event in New Delhi on Monday (12).
Speaking on the occasion Indian president, Ram Nath Kovind said, as the partnership between the Department of Biotechnology and the Wellcome Trust completes its first decade, this is an opportune moment for the India Alliance to draft its priorities for the next phase.
India’s science and technology minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan while congratulating the partnership emphasised the need for added incentive for biomedical research and creating opportunities that encourage more clinicians to carry out research. The minister added that he was happy to note that the DBT Wellcome Trust partnership was addressing this issue in a major way.
The Wellcome Trust is an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. Established in 1936 and with an endowment of around £15 billion, it is the largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research in the UK.
The aim of setting up the fellowship jointly with Wellcome Trust was to create a system comparable to the best in the world, taking India on the path of becoming a leader in key areas of life sciences and biomedical research.
The current programme is being delivered by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a public trust registered as the DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance. The trust receives an equal contribution from both DBT and WT for the running the fellowship grant scheme. The joint commitment of DBT and WT has been up to £16 million each year (£8m each), amounting to a total of £160mn over a 10-year period.
The scheme was announced in 2008. Fellowships are available across the full spectrum of biomedical research (human and veterinary) – from fundamental molecular and cellular studies through to clinical and public health research.
In the past 10 years, the alliance has awarded 320 fellowships to researchers in 93 institutions across 34 Indian cities. More than 900 PhDs, postdoctoral scientists, undergraduates and research technicians trained in the laboratories of India Alliance Fellows.
Nearly 2500 researchers were trained in science communication workshops and more than 900 PhDs, postdoctoral scientists, undergraduates and research technicians were trained in the laboratories of India alliance fellows.