The Thiruvananthapuram-based Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), a National institute under the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, has launched its first-ever Master’s programme that offers first-of-its-kind specialization in Disease Biology in the country with a huge career potential in academic and industry.

Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary to Government of India, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), inauguratedthe Master’s programmein Biotechnology with unique specializations in Disease Biology; Molecular Plant Sciences; and Molecular Diagnostics and DNA Profilingat M.R. Das Convention Centre, RGCB, here.

The two-year programme is affiliated to Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Faridabad, established under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and DBT.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Swarup noted that starting of the MSc. programme is another milestone for RGCB, which has taken many other initiatives over the years. “It’s an enormous opportunity for students,” she said.

Observing that India has a major role to play in biotechnology, which is growing in a big way globally, Dr. Renu said, “We have set the goal of achieving $100 billion in the sector by 2025. The Government of India has introduced some wonderful policies in the last two years for research and development, human resources, and infrastructure in the sector. These are also meant to give push to our startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem,” she explained.

“The Department of Biotechnology’s focus is to try and see how we can work closely with the industry, and thereby support startups,” she said, adding that institutes like RGCB can create and nurture human resources for future.

Lauding RGCB for acting enthusiastically and swiftly to launch the MSc programme, Professor Sudhanshu Vrati, Executive Director, UNESCO Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Faridabad, said: “The Master’s Degree Programme by RGCB is a unique opportunity for students for developing skills, enabling them to choose a career in academic, industry or entrepreneurship fields.”

In his special address, B. Anand, Additional Secretary to Government of India, Department of Biotechnology, urged the young students to look for innovation, and utilize the infrastructure at RGCB to acquire the global standard.

Prof. M. Radhakrishna Pillai, Director, RGCB, who welcomed the gathering, said, “RGCB has contributed to the major health policy changes of the World Health Organization (WHO) and also shown how a biotechnology institute can contribute to the PM’s call for Make in India.”

Describing it as a unique programme, he said it would cover the fundamental fields of theories in biotechnology, while focusing on laboratory exercises and industrial as well as research applications.

From 748 applicants, a total of 41 students have got admission to the first batch following the entrance examination held in 16 centres across India.  Among the 41 students 21 of them are from Kerala. Classes will commence on August 19,” he informed.

By Manoj

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