BIRAC Biotechnology Ignition Grant 2020 17th Call for startups and entrepreneurs

Do you have an ongoing or proposed startup project at an approved R&D incubation centre and are looking for government funding for it? This article provides complete information about the Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) offered by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Govt. of India Enterprise. Details of the type of projects acceptable, the amount of funding, eligibility requirements, and the online application procedure have been provided.

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), which is a Central Government not-for-profit enterprise, has announced the 17th Call for the Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) to provide a Grant to a biotech start-up or an individual entrepreneur having a pioneering idea that can be developed on a commercial scale. Both corporates and individuals who are graduates in any discipline, postgraduate students, research scholars, academic faculty and scientists who are already incubating or intend to incubate at a Bioincubator centre are welcome to apply. However, Institutes/Universities cannot apply. Only citizens of India with Indian passports are eligible to apply for this scheme. Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) are not eligible to apply.

BIRAC BIG Grant 2020 banner
[Image source: print advt. in Hindustan Times, 1st August 2020.]

About the BIRAC Ignition Grant

BIRAC will provide Grant-in-aid up to Rs. 50 lakhs for a maximum period of 18 months. The amount will be released in a phased manner through four instalments. Up to a certain maximum percentage of the BIG Grant can be utilized for equipment, manpower, rent for the incubation space, travel, IP costs, etc The provisions for each have been listed in the official guidelines. The partners of BIRAC will provide the necessary technical expertise and other types of mentoring, legal support and regulatory advice, networking, and so on.

The Grant is not for any kind of basic research project, though, and those who have received a BIG Grant earlier are not eligible to apply again. The project should not involve any type of field or clinical trials or that requires validation or certification in a later stage of the technology. It is not permitted to use the BIG Grant to support and acquire a PhD or other kind of academic research.

Who can apply for BIRAC BIG Grant

You can apply for it if you have an original innovative technology idea and will be able to set up and validate proof of concept (POC) for the idea. The Project Leader in whose name the application has to be made (whether the proposal is made by a company or an individual) should have completed basic undergraduate training in any discipline and have relevant technical qualifications to manage the project. It is the Project Leader who will be called upon to present the idea to a Technical Expert Panel (TEP) if the proposal is selected and also to sign the project agreement. In the case of an application being a Company, the Project Leader must be a shareholder in that company.

What kind of proposal will be accepted

The idea should be such that it can be well developed commercially as a product or service. An idea that integrates Biotechnology with applied sciences that includes the fields of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data analysis and the like which is beneficial in the sectors of agriculture, health, etc is a huge plus. There are seven categories for which the BIG Grant will be provided, namely-
  1. Devices & Diagnostics

  2. Drugs including drug delivery

  3. Industrial Biotechnology including Secondary Agriculture

  4. Agriculture

  5. Biosimilars & Stem Cells

  6. Vaccines

  7. Bioinformatics & facilities

Selection parameters

Other than the critical qualifier of commercialization strategy and potential, the other parameters that will be considered when reviewing the idea includes other aspects like the novelty, technical viability, the technical competence and passion of the team working on the project, the value proposition, whether it provides a solution to an unmet need, etc.

BIG Grant eligibility requirements for individuals

At the time of application, you should be incubated in or intend to be in an incubator that is located anywhere in India. The incubating centre should be a facility designed for research and development with the requisite infrastructure and network to support the project. It is not necessary that the incubation centre is supported by BIRAC. However, it will be necessary to have a Letter of Intent (LoI) or Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the incubator for final approval. Those who are currently employed with an academic or research organization or are students with such an organization are advised to read the guidelines to know the terms and conditions for applying for BIG Grant.

BIG Grant eligibility requirements for Companies

The Company/LLP should be registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956/2013 and the date of incorporation of the Company/LLP should not be earlier than five years from the date of closing of the BIG call.

How to apply for BIG Grant 2020

When applying, the Project Leader of the proposal should be the primary applicant, as this individual will be the person managing all the technical and managerial aspects of the execution of the project. The application for BIG Grant should be submitted only in the online mode at the BIRAC official website . Ensure that clarity is provided in the proposal with sufficient information because any request for a change in the proposal once submitted will not be permitted for any reason. More than one project can be submitted, but the BIG Grant will be allocated only to one, so it is advisable to submit the best one as this is an indicator that you are clear about what is your priority.

Note: Applicants should read all the guidelines, eligibility requirements, the Royalty to be given to BIRAC, etc before submitting their online application. The final announcement on the selected proposal will be made approximately four months from the closing date, with updates of the status of the application being provided at each stage to the applicant.

Relevant links
Registration guidelines-
Submission guidelines -

Closing date to submit the proposal: 15th September 2020 up to 5.30 p.m.

Contact information

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)
MTNL Building, 1st floor,
9, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road (in front of Gate no.13, JLN stadium),
New Delhi-110003.
E-mail address:
Ph: + 91-11-24389600 / Fax: + 91-11-24389611.

Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

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