New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) The Centre today announced a 'special grant' of Rs 100 crore to the Kerala-based Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) to further develop the Infrastructure and other facilities at the 12-year-old premier advanced research institute.
Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said the special grant would be over and above the normal grants-in-aid to the Institute at Thiruvananthapuram, which was recently taken over by the Union Government under the Department of Biotechnology.
Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the "Brainstorming Discussion with Science and Technology Ministers from States," he said orders had already been issued for the first instalment of Rs 25 crore for 2008-09.
Mr Sibal said the special grant of Rs 100 crore, which comes a month after UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi visited the Institute, would be spent over the next three years, starting from the current year.
A senior official of the Department of Biotechnology said the sanctioning of the special grant was in recognition of the promise of the RGCB to spearhead biotechnology research and biotech industries and in acknowledgement of the importance of biotechnology as a sunrise sector.
RGCB Director Dr M Radhakrishna Pillai later said the expansion of the RGCB would include development of a dedicated R and D Centre for Nanosciences and Engineering, Cancer Research, Infectious Disease Biology and Spices improvement through genetic Engineering.
"With a view to bringing research and business together, the RGCB proposes to provide technology and business development incubator facilities for Biotechnology companies and industry," he said.
Dr Pillai said the Institute would require an additional 50 acres of land for its future development plans. A request would be made to the Kerala government requesting for land on lease as was given to the Indian Institute for Science Education and Research and Indian Institute for Space Technology.
The RGCB was ranked as among the top three biotechnology schools in the country in 2007.
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