One of the key government departments of India credited with heralding the era of adventure and entrepreneurship in the country’s science – the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) – is entering its youthful years. Thirty, as they say, is the new twenty.
In these three eventful decades, DBT’s achievements have been many, in terms of the science it has enabled, the policies it has introduced, as well as the linkages it has established across disciplines and countries. DBT’s many forays into biological sciences education and its societal contributions have also bolstered its position as a formidable science-faring body in the country – as a confident young global icon who looks to the future, armed with a dynamic policy framework, the spirit of adventure and ample room for self-criticism.
Nature India is happy to be associated with DBT at this historic time of transition, a time when India’s science is making waves globally. This special volume (freely downloadable from the Special Issues section of Nature India) marking DBT’s 30 years was released today. The volume features commentaries from leading names in biological sciences in India and across the world. The milestones of DBT have been highlighted in a commentary ‘The changing face of biological sciences in India’ and a short note ‘Three decades of biotech solutions’ by two of the many visionary past leaders of the department. DBT’s present chief outlines the vision for the future in an interview titled ‘As India’s economy grows, we will have more support for science’.
The articles compiled in this issue range from looking at the state of basic biotech research in the health sector (malaria, TB, allied microbes and stem cells) to green medicine and frugal medical innovations; from biosafety of India’s laboratories to the looming debate over genetically modified crops; and from biodiversity to big data.
The future of science and science-led entrepreneurship lies in an interdisciplinary, global approach; in frugal
innovations; in providing local solutions to the world’s problems. DBT, which has been playing the catalyst in all these areas successfully, now has an enviable 30-year benefit of hindsight to reflect upon and open newer doors to newer challenges.
As media partner, Nature India, a showcase of India’s science, is proud to collaborate with DBT in its newest mission of disseminating science better. It would be a mission well accomplished if the youth of this country gets back to thinking that ‘science is cool’.