BIOTECHNOLOGY IGNITION GRANT
Igniting Innovation Sparks
Kick Starting Entrepreneurship
Seeding Innovative ideas in Biotechnology
Creating Biotech Startup Ecosystem
A Startup Funding Programme of DBT- BIRAC
Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) was launched 5years ago by DBT-BIRAC (July, 2012). It is a start-up funding programme to support research projects that aim to establish or validate proof of concept for a promising and innovative technology idea with commercialization potential in all areas of life sciences, medtech and healthcare domains.
Through BIG funding, a grant of up to 50 Lakhs for 18 months is provided to biotech start ups and entrepreneurial individuals to propel best in class innovative ideas to a POC-the first major milestone in the product development cycle
The salient purpose of the BIG scheme is to:
o Foster generation of ideas with commercialization potential
o Facilitate transformation of an idea into a proof of concept
o Encourage entrepreneurship by researchers and faculty
o Stimulate enterprise formation
BIG encourages all interested in the program to apply. In general, BIG looks for innovators who have novel cutting edge ideas that are market driven and have societal impact. Above all, BIG seek candidates who have the ambition to become successful entrepreneurs in biotech innovation and have a desire to establish their own biotech start-up ventures.
Project proposal for BIG can only be applied online by registering and logging-on the BIRAC website www.birac.nic.in. No hard copies are required.
BIG grant will be awarded to the person/team(s) or any start up company who submits the best idea, technology, or solution in the following areas of biotechnology.
Proposals will be evaluated on their ability to meet the following criteria:
How to Apply
To apply for the BIG Grant, please:
1. Fill out all online application forms completely
2. Upload necessary documents (see details below)
3. A No Objection Certificate, if you are formally employed, from the head of the organization stating that the host institute have no conflict on carrying out the proposed work under BIG Grant in Incubator, if selected (for further details refer to section no 5 “Eligibility criteria” of BIG Guidelines). If you choose KIIT-TBI as your BIG Partner, we will issue you the template of the NOC which you need to upload the duly filled in NOC while submitting the proposal online against the "Any other information relevant to the project" section
4. Letter of Intent (LOI) from your preferred incubator of having initiated discussions on subscribing to incubation services (please refer to section 5.1.3 “Eligibility criteria” of BIG Guidelines). If you wish to choose KIIT-TBI as your preferred incubator, kindly email us about your project proposal title so that we can send you the LoI on our official letter head, which you can upload it online against the section *MOU/Agreement with the Incubator".
5. Submit your application once all materials have been uploaded and you have verified that the information is correct
To get started, please go to
BIRAC website www.birac.nic.in. You will first be asked to login. Once you have completed this initial registration, you can begin your application for BIG Grant. It is not necessary to complete your application in one sitting; you can save your work and return at a later time.
The call for proposals opens twice each year, 1st January and 1st July.
Online Application Forms
The following information is required on the online application forms:
• Name, address, designation, phone number, email address, and any other information requested during registration
• Details on project proposal summary. The template of the application form can be found here
The application process requires you to upload all of the following materials:
• Resume or curriculum vitae of project coordinator, team members and scientific advisor, if any.
•Scanned copy of Passport of the Project coordinator
• No Objection Certificate, if applicable
• Letter of Intent from incubator
• Concept note explaining the technology with necessary figures and diagrams, not mandatory.
What should be the duration the project?
The duration of the project will not be more than 18 months.
Is there any limit of number of projects to be submitted?
You can apply for more than one proposal. However, more than 1 proposal may not be selected for funding.
What is the format to apply for BIG scheme?
The format is available online on the BIRAC website www.birac.nic.in. The applicant should register as a new user on the BIRAC website as “BIG User” and fill the online form.
Can Individuals apply for BIG Scheme?
Individuals may apply but as this is a competitive grant so it is preferred that a team of Individuals, with expertise to execute the project apply, to make the application stronger.
Should I have a guide/mentor?
A Guide or Mentor is most preferable but is not a must. Individual applicants are encouraged to apply with a Guide/Mentor.
Would guides/advisors/ mentors be considered while evaluating team competence?
What are the qualifications for selection?
BIG encourages all interested in the program to apply. BIG especially interested in applicants with backgrounds in medicine, biosciences, biomedical engineering, pharmacy, or computational biology. Masters, medical, or doctorate degrees are preferred but not required. Project Leaders with a BSc degree with at least 1 year of full-time work or research experience shall also be eligible. In general, BIG looks for innovators who have novel cutting edge ideas that are market driven and have societal impact. Above all, we are seeking candidates who have the ambition to become successful entrepreneurs in biotech innovation and have a desire to establish their own biotech start-up ventures.
Can I apply if I am I am a person of Indian origin but hold a foreign passport?
No. only Indians or Indian Companies are eligible to apply for this scheme. You are required to upload scanned copy of your passport, while filling the online application form.
I am a Scientist/ Assistant professor permanently employed in an Government/private institute/university, can I apply?
Scientists/ or any other employee holding a permanent position in any a non-profit academic or research organization are eligible to apply for BIG Scheme provided that they have to upload a No Objection Certificate from the head of the organization stating that the host institute have no conflict on carrying out the proposed work under BIG Grant in Incubator, if selected (for further details refer to section no 5 “Eligibility criteria” of BIG Guidelines). If you choose KIIT-TBI as your BIG Partner, we will issue you the template of the NOC which you need to upload the duly filled in NOC while submitting the proposal online against the "Any other information relevant to the project" section
I am MSc/PhD Research student, can I apply?
Students are eligible to apply for BIG Scheme. However, please note that this fund is neither a fellowship nor can it be used for carrying out the regular research of the institute. The project work should not be carried out in their own institute lab. The student should be located in an Incubator.
I have submitted my PhD thesis, am I eligible to apply. I am not currently working for any organization. Do I need NOC from any host Institute
The BIG scheme is meant to encourage entrepreneurship among students. The grant promotes all (employed/unemployed) to apply, if you meet the eligibility criteria. You don’t need to furnish “NOC”. If you choose KIIT-TBI as your preferred incubator, you can use KIIT-TBI scientific facilities and infrastructure to carry out the proposed work.
Is any industrial partner required for submission of project proposal under the BIG scheme?
Can a Director/ Promoter/ Owner/ Shareholder of a Company (ies) apply for the BIG scheme?
Please refer to Section 6.1.6 and Section 6.2.6 of BIG Guidelines.
Can a Director/ Promoter/ Owner/ Shareholder of a Company (ies) starting a new company be eligible to apply for the BIG scheme?
Please refer to Section 6.1.6 and Section 6.2.6. of BIG Guidelines.
Can proprietorship firm, for BIG scheme?
No, the legal entity should be a company registered under the Companies Act.
Can Institute apply for BIG scheme?
No, Institutes/Universities are not eligible to apply for this scheme.
Whether we should be an incubatee at present to be eligible for Biotechnology Ignition Grant or can we become an incubatee once we get the grant?
If you are not an Incubatee yet then you may initiate talks with the Incubator you wish to incubate in. After the selection for BIG Grant you may formalize the agreement with the Incubator.
In case of Individual applicants, who will receive the funds?
The applicant will receive the fund in a separate auditable account. The selected applicants will have to open a separate bank account in a scheduled bank. The fund disbursed will be milestone based by the BIG Partners.
Is the information provided by me kept Confidential?
We maintain confidentiality of all the proposals we receive under different schemes. All the reviewers sign a non-disclosure agreement and no conflict agreement before viewing the proposals. How does the BIG Grant differ from other government initiatives / research grants/or fellowships
The BIG grant stands out amongst various other government initiatives in many ways. First, placing faith in individual innovators and biotech start-ups for driving innovation as opposed to only supporting non-profit research and academic organizations. Second, Many grants are specific to what stage you are in your career (career(graduate students, post-doctoral or clinicians, new Asst Prof just beginning a research career, scientists holding a permanent position, in a govt institute/university), unlike BIG Grant that encourages all to apply. Third, It is not thematic based, BIG grant will be awarded to the person/team(s) or any start up company who submits the best idea, technology, or solution in any field related to biotechnology. Fourth, Funding ideas at concept stage without requiring pre-existing data and body of work. Fifth, You’ll receive mentoring throughout your project duration. Sixth, prior to submission to BIRAC you can use our suggestion and advice to leverage your grant application. We maintain confidentiality of all the proposals we receive under BIG Grant. All the reviewers sign a non-disclosure agreement and no conflict agreement before viewing the proposals. Seventh, there is no restriction on resubmission of application for BIG grant, if not selected we encourage to revise and reapply incorporating peer-review comments. Eight, the grant in aid goes directly to the applicant separate auditable account and not to the institute account, where the applicant is employed.
How is the fund disbursed to the BIG Grantee?
The fund disbursement is milestone based and is released in 4 installments: 1st Installment: Signing of Contract: Max 30%; 2nd Installment: Completion of 1st Milestone (M1): ~ 30%; 3rd Installment: Completion of 2nd Milestone (M2): ~ 30% ;4th Installment: Completion of project and submission of final report (M4): ~ 5-10%; Last installment is released after conclusion of the project and hence is in the nature of reimbursement.
Is there any restrictions and constraints relating to planning and utilization of funds?
Yes, The typical budget head allowed under BIG Grant are Equipment; Manpower/ salary/ fees ; Consumables, research supplies etc.; Incubation services/ rentals etc. ; Travel and related costs ; External/outsourced services ; IP costs ; Contingency. Further details on maximum amount under each budget head can be found in Section11 of the BIG Guidelines
What other documents do I need to upload while submitting the online application form for BIG Grant?
Besides the technical details on your project proposal you need to upload (1) scanned copy of Passport of the Project leader as well as other team members; (2) Resume of the Project leader as well as other team members (3) NOC if your formally employed (4) Letter of Intent (LOI) from your preferred incubator of having initiated discussions on subscribing to incubation services (please refer to section 5.1.3 “Eligibility criteria” of BIG Guidelines). If you wish to choose KIIT-TBI as your preferred incubator, kindly email us about your project proposal title so that we can send you the LoI on our official letter head, which you can upload it online against the section *MOU/Agreement with the Incubator".
What is the role of BIG Partner?
BIRAC has partnered with five technology incubators. IKP Knowledge Park, Hyderabad; FITT, IIT-Delhi; C-CAMP, Bangalore, NCL-Venture Centre, Pune and KIIT-TBI, Bhubaneswar. BIG partners are responsible for Eligibility check/reviewing the proposals; disbursing the funds to the grantees; Monitoring the projects; Mentoring and networking; Facilitate further follow-on-funding.
As a BIG Partner, does KIIT-TBI conduct seminars or grant writing workshops specific for BIG call?
Yes, we conduct workshops seminars prior to the call for proposals under BIG Grant opens at KIIT-TBI, Bhubaneswar. Additionally, we would be happy to conduct a brief sensitization program on BIG Scheme at your Institution/University/College to discuss in detail about the grant and the application process to students/faculties/researchers. If interested, kindly write to us at :[email protected]/[email protected] so that we can schedule a particular date/time for the event, which would be convenient to both the sides. A guide on Grant writing can also be found here.
Who can I contact if I have questions about the BIG Grant or the application process?
Please contact [email protected] with any questions or call 8249471927 (Dr. Namrata Misra)
As a BIG partner, we manage hand-hold, monitor and provide guidance to BIG grantees including connecting them to investors and technical experts. Although KIIT-TBI joined as BIG partner from 4th Call, we are witnessing a steady rise in BIG applicants from start ups and entrepreneurial individuals. Our innovators are executing cutting-edge projects on various trans-disciplinary areas covering nanotech, diagnostics, biomed and life sciences. Many of our BIG grantees found start-up companies or become corporate innovators in the biotech field.
years of experience as BIG Partner
proposals received under BIG
Biotech Projects supported
start-ups have received BIG Grant
Women entrepreneurs supported by BIG
BIG grantees have successfully reached POC
entrepreneurs trained through workshops
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Apply to Join KIIT-TBI
As one of the implementing BIG Partner, we invite innovative cutting edge research ideas related to any areas of biotechnology that are market driven and have societal impact. The 12th BIG call opens on 1st Jan 2018 for online proposal submission at www.birac.nic.in. Please refer to the “BIG Guideline” and” BIG-Template Application form”. If you are interested to apply for the forthcoming BIG Call,
please let us know, email us about your idea we would be pleased to guide you
Contact email Id: [email protected]