The Indian government is encouraging the establishment of biotechnology parks, in a move to facilitate research under a public-private partnership scheme.
Private institutions can participate under the Department of Biotechnology's (DBT) Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI). The DBT has invited proposals for product related pre-proof-of-concept, product related research or development, and evaluation under the initiative. Late last month, in India's Business Line newspaper, it was reported that the Government has granted permission to a private entity, TCG Urban Infrastructure Holdings, in order set up a "Biotech Special Economic Zone" (SEZ) in Kalamassery. The SEZ Approval Committee has now granted 26 formal clearances and 8 in-principle approvals, as reported in Business Line. The approvals include a multi-product SEZ in Chhattisgarh of around 2000 hectares, leading to concerns from some that the SEZ scheme is simply "a legal land-grab scheme." A potential problem Vandana Shiva has identified for some time, including her contribution to the New Scientist Greenpeace Debates in 2002.
In an article in The Hindu earlier this month, R Ramabhadran Pillai reported that the DBT had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) for cooperation in the field of biotechnology. The Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) aims to assist and build upon cooperation between Australia and India and establishing strategic alliances between researchers in the two countries.
The recent Guidelines for Intellectual Property Management and Technology Transfer/Commercialization, produced by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), are particularly concerned with public-private partnerships. In the accompanying letter, Dr Mangala Rai, Secretary and Director-General of ICAR, says that technology transfer through public-private partnerships will necessarily be facilitated by intellectual property rights and commercial routes, as much as they are enabled through the public system.
Public-private partnerships were also the theme of this year's Open Days event in Brussels, "Investing in Europe’s Regions and Cities – Public and Private Partnership for Growth and Jobs," hosted by the Committee of the Regions. 134 offices of regions and cities in Brussels were selected as official partners, with over 100 seminars and workshops focusing on public and private initiatives as means by which to improve growth and employment at the local and regional level.