ELIXIR OF LIFE
A lucrative career in biotechnology can be achieved through academic excellence and specialised research
In 1978, with a seed capital of just 10,000, the then 25 year- old Kiran Mazumdar- Shaw started a biotechnology company in the garage of her rented house in Bangalore. What most people do not know is that in that since then, the Indian biotechnology industry has become one of the fastest growing sectors and contributes to nearly three- fifth of the total revenue at 9,500 crore.
Development in this sector has resulted in an augmented demand of trained professionals. The profession offers job opportunities not only in the field of biology, but also subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering. Rajiv Shorey, president, NIIT University explains, “Since biotechnological engineering or bio- engineering is the application of concepts and methods of molecular biology to solve problems in life sciences, using engineering's analytical and synthetic methodologies, the 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. 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.”
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 bio-technology, pharma-biotechnology, environmental biotechnology, fermentation technology, industrial biotechnology, biochemical engineering, tissue engineering and plant biotechnology,” says Grover.
Remuneration, of course, very much depends upon academic qualification and experience. In the corporate sector, freshers may get anything between 70,000 and 85,000 per month. Those working in research institutes can earn between 60,000 per month.
Bio- engineers are high in demand in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors