It is often felt that Indian research, conducted by either at Institutes and universities, has not made any impact on society or not much translational activity. One major problem being faced by scientists in India is that they work in isolation or away from realities or problems in the field. None of the universities or institutes in the country have medical, agricultural of engineering divisions within the same campus. The scientists conducting research on medical problems have very little knowledge of the diseases, while the clinicians have little time to engage themselves in research. Same is the situation in the field of agriculture or engineering fields. Very little efforts are being made to correct this deficiency, atleast in the new institutions being set up, by the Govt.
Under this scenario the School of Life Sciences at University of Hyderabad is making efforts to overcome the problem by organizing BioQuest, an annual event to showcase the expertise, infrastructure and areas of research to the industry and other institutions. The focus of BioQuest 2015 was on promoting Innovation and entrepreneurship and organized a panel discussion coordinated by IKP. BioQuest 2016, on the other hand focused on translational research and academy-industry interactions.
The panel discussion on “Engaging Basic Scientists in Translational Research: Potential Challenges and Opportunities” was moderated by Dr. UdaySaxena, Co-founder & Chief Advisor R&D, Kareus Therapeutics, DRILS and panelists by prominent thought leaders from leading hospitals and industries such as Dr. Dilip Mathai, Dean, Apollo Institute of Medical Sciences &Research (AIMSR), Hyderabad; Dr. Sasidhar, Apollo Hospitals Educational Research Foundation (AHERF); Mr. Ram Kaundinya, Director, Syngenta India Ltd.; Dr. Ramanathan, Metahelix, Hyderabad; Prof. Geeta Vemuganti, Dean, School of Medical Sciences and Prof. P. Reddanna, Dean School of Life Sciences. Major recommendations of this panel discussion include:
• Addressing problems with multidisciplinary approach
• Providing a common platform for frequent interactions
• Facilitating conduct of student and Ph.D projects under joint supervision
• Organising seminars, workshops and training programs jointly
Academia-industry collaboration has always been a topic of discussion in both the sides. Indeed, the collaboration, world over, is quite limited. In order to discuss the issues and challenges in furthering academy-industry interactions and come up with solutions, a panel discussion on Academy –Industry Interactions was organized as part of BioQuest 2016.
The Panel Discussion was coordinated by Dr. Vijay Paranjape, Lead Innovation Advisory, Sathguru Management Consultants, Hyderabad along with Dr. George John, Former Sr. Advisor DBT and Former Vice-chancellor, Birsa Agricultural University; Dr. RanjanPatnaik, Dupont knowledge centre, Hyderabad; Dr. Nick Mitchell, Phenomenex; Dr. Parthasarathi Bhattacharya, Tierra Seed Science, Hyderabad; Mr. Manni Kantipudi, CEO, GVK Bio, Hyderabad; Dr. Prabhakar, Atul Ltd., Mumbai and Prof. P. Reddanna, Dean, School of Life Sciences as the panelists.
The important recommendations include:
1. Universities should revise and develop flexible policies to encourage faculty and students to take-up collaborative and innovative
research projects from different industries.
2. Integration of the research enterprises of industry and academia.
3. Modification of curriculum to suit industrial requirements
4. Academic institutions should establish business cells to liaise between researchers and industry
5. Strict adherence of timelines from academics side
6. Push and Pull Models: While academic institutions push the industry the industry should pull the academicians for interactions in areas
of mutual interest.
The BioQuest2016 was concluded with valedictory session, chaired by Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Vice-chancellor, UOH and Dr. George John, Former Sr. Advisor, DBT and Former Vice-chancellor, Birsa Agricultural University as Chief Guest. The chief guest, Dr George John appreciated the efforts of the School of life Sciences in organizing this important event in promoting translational research and academy industry interactions. He highlighted various initiatives taken by the government agencies in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship such as BIG, BIPP, SBIRI etc. He further encouraged the students to focus on innovation and take up the innovative ideas to set up companies. Prof. Appa Rao Podile informed that University of Hyderabad is committed to translate its research findings to the benefit of society. He further mentioned that academia-industry interactions have been taking place in UoH. He also said that further steps are being taken up to set up more Incubation Centres and Knowledge & Innovation cell for promoting translational research and entrepreneurship.
In the BioQuest2016 best poster and best oral presentations were given awards, sponsored by Welcome Trust/DBT India Alliance and Elsevier. Dr Suresh Yenugu coordinated the evaluation process of oral and poster presentations given by students with help of external experts. Awards were presented to students for best oral (4 nos) and poster (16 nos) presentations. These twenty awards were sponsored by Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance. Ms Soma Behera has won the Elsevier sponsored ‘TAB’ for her oral presentation on ‘Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress mediated insulin resistance’.
Another important event of the BioQuest 2016 was honoring superannuated faculty and staff. Prof. RP Sharma, Prof. AS Raghavendra, Mr. Ankineedu and Mr. Babaiah were honoured
Valedictory session ended with a vote of thanks presented by Dr. Santosh Kumar Padhi.
BioQuest2016 event concluded with a colourful and enjoyable cultural program performed by students of School of Life Sciences.