What is Biotechnology
and its scope ?
Biotechnology is one of the world’s newest and most important applied science of the 21st century. It requires spirit and embraces basic sciences like Physics, Chemistry, Maths as well as engineering technology depending upon its
application. In most general sense, Biotechnology refers to the use of microorganism, such as bacteria or yeast, or biological substances, such as enzymes to perform specific industrial or manufacturing process. It includes
manipulation of organisms on the molecular and genetic level to improve health,safety, nutrition and environment.
Biotechnologist’s will be absorbed by almost every sphere of life whether it is agriculture, horticulture, dairy farming, pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry. Careers in biotechnology tend to be related to Research and
development, Quality control, clinical Research, Manufacturing and Production, Patent administration, Management and Administration, hospital laboratories, Academic Research laboratories, Forensics, environmental cleanup and
Bioinformatics. Being a part of the world of biotechnology, there is and would be an identification in itself.
Which are the
promising biotech sectors likely to see high growth inthe coming 5-7 years?
If there is any area of science that will flourish
after information technology,then it is biotechnology. There is
proliferation of modern biology / biotechnology in all areas of life. The
fields of diagnostics, vaccines, clinical trials, therapeuticsare some of
the upcoming areas. The development of kits, equipments in theservices
sector is equally important. In the next 2-3 years, the field of phyto /
bioremediation technology may surpass the pharma field in the US and it
willbe a money-spinner. The area of bioprospecting has emerged and India
has agenetic gold rush of bio resources, which require high through put
screening.Now things are being looked at a molecular level. It is required
to have interdisciplinary knowledge and experience to venture in the areas
of molecularmedicine. The era of genomics has started, with the sequencing
of the human genome and specialized trained manpower in molecular virology,
genetics,molecular immunology, stem cells, molecular immunology and
molecularmonoclonal antibodies are required. In the next 5 years, according
to Americanestimates there would be requirement of bioinformaticians.
People with both bioinformatics and other biotech related skills are
required and both have to work complementary to each other. Today we have
very limited human resource in the area of modern biology in India. Along
with these there is also a requirement of professionals with a masters
qualification along with law or MBA.
necessary to have a doctorate degree or can one get good job safter a
Master's degree? What is the scope for an MBA biotechnology student?
The baseline is that there is no necessity of a PhD degree. With an MSc,
MTech,B.Tech degree, one is equipped to do the routine activities like
quality control,quality assurance, processing, production, downstream processing
and fermentation whereas if one is looking at developing IPR for a company
or gointo innovative research, then it is preferable to have a PhD degree.
Finally, it is your mindset, which is important and not the degree.
Similarly with an MBAbiotech degree you are more equipped towards
marketing, marketing analysis and business development activities.
How can a student plan his
career after a degree in biotechnology?
are basically three types of students: First those who look for
highereducation; Second, who opt for a job immediately after coming out
from the college; and the third who look at becoming entrepreneurs.
Students should have clarity in mind and focus on what they want. For
pursuing future research , there are large opportunities both in the
academia and the industry. The various universities, national research
labs, ICMR institutes and Centers of Excellence provide a wide variety of
options for students looking at higher education. The core recombinant
technology areas for research are agriculture, medical research and
healthcare (including services), industrial biotechnology, environmental
biotechnology, bioenergy and biofuels.Students wanting to work in the
industry can look at the areas of R&D, manufacturing, quality
assessment / control, sales and marketing and marketing analysis. There are
also a number of opportunities for working in the area of environment like
the biological diversity arena. Since India is a signatory to the
Convention on Biological Diversity,which is dedicated to promoting
sustainable development , we will need trained people in this area for the
different regional offices to measure biodiversity , document its loss and
extinction. The implementation of the biosafety measures will also require
thousands of students. Some of the other areas are working on new agrotech
practices, novel pesticides and biofertilizers. A large number of knowledge
centers are needed in the rural areas which will employ educated youth for
transforming the farming practices and promoting the concept of biovillage.
This is similar to the rural development program in China. So students can
do wonderful work in the rural technology centers in smaller cities and
towns. In this way, the BSc/MSc biotechnology students can play a useful
role in the Rural Bioresource Council.
What are the opportunities available for biotech
personnel in the private sector?
there is a specific requirement of quality manpower for the third
generation of biotechnology. Till now, many a times, it has been seen that
good scientists hesitate to come to the industry. Budding biotechnologists
should remember that the biotech industry is now involved in innovative
research and development. Earlier companies were spending about 5-10
percent of the total turnover into innovative R&D but of late they are
investing 15-20 percent of the total turnover into it. Though the Indian
industry is still at a nascent stage ofindigenous research and process
development , its scientific environment (facilities) have been built consciously
, which is very good. Students having an innovative bent of mind can enter
this arena. Besides research there are openings at various levels like in
quality control, marketing and sales, regulatory sector, technology
transfer, clinical trials and in thebioservices segment (CROs). Since the
industry has become more competitive, has specific human resource
requirements, which it finds hard to fulfil. Presently, most of the
students are like technicians and there is a great dearth of talent. It is
important to remember that the industry is for profit and will identify the
person based on his skills and attitude.
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