India Alliance Celebrates 10 Years of Enabling Biomedical Research in India, 12-14 November 2018, New Delhi


11 Nov 2018

India Alliance Celebrates 10 Years of Enabling Biomedical Research in India, 12-14 November 2018, New Delhi

 

The Wellcome Trust/ DBT India Alliance (India Alliance), a public charity funded equally by the Wellcome Trust (UK) and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, celebrated a decade of growth across an unmatched portfolio of globally competitive fellows and biomedical research projects, 12—14 November 2018.

The launch of the India Alliance, 10 years ago, was a novel experiment in funding and engagement in India—one that aimed to identify the best researchers; nurture them as future leaders; and thus build excellence in biomedical research.

Tracing the ten-year journey of India Alliance, shows how it has grown into a leader of science funding in India by anchoring a generous and flexible fellowship programme that supports researchers at different career levels under the tracks of basic biomedical and clinical and public health research. The scope of the fellowships offered by India Alliance ranges from high-quality basic science to clinical research and public health interventions with far-reaching translational impacts. Researchers funded by India Alliance have been carrying out remarkable work to improve both human and animal health. Notably, the relative citation ratio of India Alliance-funded publications is considerably higher when benchmarked against national comparators; this illustrates the quality of science funded by India Alliance.

Over the years, the role of India Alliance has evolved from that of a funder to an influencer working towards establishing a research ecosystem of international standards that nurtures scientific talent and drives innovations to tackle health challenges in India and worldwide. Its sphere of action, in addition to research funding, now includes capacity building for researchers through workshops, training researchers for leadership roles, informing science and health policy, facilitating international and interdisciplinary collaborations, improving research assessment policies, making science accessible, and bridging the gap between science and society through public engagement.

Chronicling the 10-year journey of cutting edge scientific research spearheaded in India by the India Alliance is Nature India’s special issue: Decade of Discovery.

India Alliance celebrated this milestone year by hosting a three-day event, which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, in the presence of the Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, on 12th November 2018. The Hon’ble President of India acknowledged the pan-India reach of the fellowships supporting researchers in 93 institutions across 34 Indian cities and commended India Alliance’s interventions to help women researchers in science. He added that the 10th year celebration is an opportune moment for India Alliance to reflect on its achievements and draft its priorities for the future. Dr Harsh Vardhan congratulated the partnership of the Department of Biotechnology and the Wellcome Trust for creating opportunities for clinicians of the country to participate and contribute to biomedical research.

At the tenth-year celebrations, the India Alliance launched—The Explorer Series— a public science talk series that has been specially designed to inspire the young to value science and ignite the excitement in science. On 12th November, India Alliance Fellows, the Scientists-Explorers—Farah Istiaq, Abi T. Vanak, S. P. Arun, and Rashmi Rodrigues, took approximately 500 college students at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on an adventurous journey to explore science. This 1st chapter of the Explorer Series is now available on YouTube. The series will move nation-wide this year to celebrate science.

On 13th and 14th November, the India Alliance hosted an array of science talks and panel discussions (available on YouTube) on cutting-edge research and research needs in India, which featured India Alliance fellows, other experts, and representatives of both national and international organizations. The panel discussion dealt on some very pertinent topics with respect to the Indian research ecosystem: breaking boundaries between clinical and basic research, developing future leaders in Indian science, creating robust ecosystems in India, and the value of international collaborations.

In line with the efforts of the India Alliance to empower its Fellows to make their science more accessible, a science image competition and exhibition called Stories of Science was also organized. This exhibition proved that science often generates breath-taking beauty and captivating stories.  

“Since our inception, India Alliance has adapted to the needs of emerging scientific challenges. Our endeavour to establish a globally recognised research ecosystem in India uses a comprehensive approach, which includes finding the best people and empowering them with support that is flexible, generous and timely. We step into our next phase with grants that will enable large-scale, inter-disciplinary and collaborative team science projects and help establish clinical research centres—both focused on addressing India’s health challenges”, said Dr Shahid Jameel, CEO, India Alliance.

A decade is a significant milestone to have passed, and glimpses of the momentous journey of the India Alliance in the arena of Indian science can be caught at the 10th Year commemorative webpage.

India Alliance looks forward to helping Indian science reach greater heights over the next decade and beyond and towards improving health of the nation.