Bio-technology is a combination of biology and technology. It involves the use of organisms and biological process in the various industrial processes. Biotechnology has started touching core areas such as health, medicine, agriculture, environmental sciences, energy, etc. In India, the biotechnology industry has become one of the fastest growing sectors and contributes to nearly three-fifth of the total revenue at Rs 9,500 crore.
The success of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw from the garage of her rented house in Bangalore to Financial Times Top 50 Business Women was happened through biotechnology. Her biotech company, Biocon Ltd., was started with a seed capital of Rs.10, 000. And now Biocon is 20th leading biotech company of the world with a revenue of Rs.9,500 crore.
Demand for biotechnologist is on rise
The demand for biotechnologist is growing throughout the globe. New development in this sector has resulted in an augmented demand of trained professionals. Naresh Grover, director, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad, says “If we look closely at the emerging trends in the industry within and outside the country, biotechnology sector is fast growing in manufacturing field today. Be it manufacturing of and enhancing production of effective and safer drugs, diagnostic kits, affordable vaccines, designer foods, probiotics, biosensors, biochips, agro-biochemical, industrial enzymes, transgenic crops, bio-similar or introduction of cleaner bioprocess, all clearly spells the potential of biotechnology is increasing day by day in local as well as international platforms.”
The annual growth rate of biotech sector is about 32%. There is a tremendous scope in this field in India as well in Europe and America. ‘BioSpectrum’ survey has shown that there are more than 300 institutions in the country offering biotechnology courses. These institutions have been imparting biotech skills to more than 30,000 students every year. As per BioSpectrum-ABLE survey, the industry today employs about 20,000-25,000 personnel in the technical and scientific categories. This sector is skill incentive sector capable of employing huge number of skilled human resource. It is estimated that this sector will generate an employment of 1.2 million jobs per year and it is growing.
Bioengineering is the new rage
Rajiv Shorey, president, NIIT University explains, “Since biotechnological engineering or bioengineering is the application of concepts and methods of molecular biology to solve problems in life sciences, using engineering’s analytical and synthetic methodologies. This course creates manpower that is trained in the latest techniques and devices for biological research, including the pharmaceutical industry.”
All those who want to peruse bioengineering must understand that this field is at a nascent stage and promises huge potential as there is no other area where integration of physical and biological sciences is visible.
Biotechnology courses vary in duration and courses are offered at the undergraduate as well as post graduate level. The different types of degrees a student can earn in this field include a bachelor in biotechnology which is of three years, a bachelor of engineering or technology in biotechnology which is of four years duration. They can also pursue a master in biotechnology for two years, a master of technology in biotechnology for two years or a master of philosophy for one year. Graduates can also opt for an MBA in biotechnology for two years or a PhD in the same.
During post graduation, students can specialise in subjects such as agri-biotechnology, pharmabiotechnology, environmental biotechnology, fermentation technology, industrial biotechnology, biochemical engineering, tissue engineering and plant biotechnology.
Candidates can pursue a B.Sc. or B.E. or B.Tech. in biotechnology in the country. The duration of B.Sc. degree is three years and that of engineering is 4 years.
The eligibility for candidates to earn a degree is to first pass 10+2 with 50% marks in subjects like biology, chemistry, physics and math. There are some institutions where biology is compulsory, whereas some accept only PCM subjects as combination. With such combinations in the 12th, one can easily opt for B.Sc. But for a degree in engineering, candidate has to appear for common entrance exams like IIT JEE or entrance exam of other institutions.
The remuneration depends upon academic qualification, institute or university from which the degree is obtained, the level of work experience and type of biotech firm.In the corporate sector, freshers may get anything between Rs 70,000 and Rs 85,000 per month. It also depends on the place of employment if it is a small town the salary shall be much lower and if it is metro it is higher.
Research & Development: Scientific Director, Scientist, Research Associate, Research Assistant, Biotech Scientist/Engineer, Molecular Modeller, Facility Manager/Supervisor (Animal Sciences), Veterinarian, Lab Assistant, patent administrator, etc.
Operations: Biomedical technician, Process Development Manager, Process Development Technician, Manufacturing Manager/Technician/Instrumentation, Purchasing Agent/Buyer, Facilities Manager, Toxicologist & Environmental Engineers, Product development engineer, Packaging operator, Instrument Calibration Technician, etc
Quality control: Quality Control (QC) Manager/Supervisor, QC Analyst, Quality Assurance Manager/Supervisor, Quality Assurance (QA), Documentation Specialist and Validation Manager.
Clinical Research: Clinical Research Manager, Biostatistician, Clinical Data Manager/Associate, Manager of Regulatory Affairs or Medical Affairs Director.
Biotech Pharmaceuticals: Clinical pharmacist, clinical researcher, pharmaceutical representatives, process engineer, quality control manager.
Administration and Academics: Professors in Universities and colleges.
Finance & Administration: Financial Officers, Director of Finance, Accounting Managers, Accounting Clerks or Public/Investor Relations Manager.
Biotech Sales: Marketing of pharma and other biotech products.
Science promoter: Biotechnology journalist, Science reporters, etc.
Self-employment: Suppliers of biotech products and biotech instruments, Biotech firms, consultant in Agriculture biotech, environment biotechnology, etc., Biotechnology patent firm, Culture suppliers of mushrooms/bacteria/algae/fungi, etc.
Major biotech institutes