Biotechnology Ignition Grant

Igniting New Ideas

Applications are open for 21st Call.


About the Scheme

Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) is the flagship pioneering startup funding programme of BIRAC, DBT, GoI. With a grant-in-aid of up to INR 50 Lakhs over a period of 18 months, the scheme encourages and supports biotech entrepreneurs to establish and validate proof of concept (POC) for an idea with a commercial potential.

The purpose of the scheme is to:

  • Foster generation of ideas with commercialisation potential
  • Upscale and validate of proof of concept
  • Encourage researchers to take technology closer to market through a start up
  • Stimulate enterprise formation

₹ 50 lakhs Grant-in-Aid

For a period of 18 months

Who Can Apply

Individual Innovators with Graduate Degree in any discipline, Research Scholar, Scientist, Faculty.
Startups not more than 5 years

Focus Sectors

BIG scheme supports innovation under Healthcare, Lifesciences, Diagnostics, Medical Devices, Drugs, Vaccines, Drug Formulations and delivery systems, Industrial Biotechnology, Agriculture, Secondary agriculture, Waste Management, Sanitation, Clean Energy and related areas.

BIG Application Process

Call Opens

Generate a Letter of Intent (LoI) from us, which is an important document to be uploaded in the online application form.


After receiving the LoI, head to BIRAC Online Portal to complete the application.


Eligible applicants will go through multi-step selection process. 

  • Preliminary Screening Committee 
  • Blind Peer Review
  • Technical Evaluation Panel (Pitching Round)


Final results are declared after the ESC (Expert Selection Committee) round.

*  We have resources to help navigate your application process: Download Resources

Benefits with KIIT-TBI BioNEST

Business mentoring from industry
Networking Opportunities & Market Access
Office space & access to state-of-the-art lab facilities
Connect with Govt funds, leading Angels & VCs
In house IP, Tech Transfer, Legal, Finance & HR Support

Performance so far

Applications Received
Innovators Supported
0 +
Startups Catalyzed
0 M+
Funds Released
0 K+
Jobs Created
0 B
Follow-on Funding Raised
0 +
Women-Led Enterprises Incubated
0 +
IP Created

BIG Mentor Board

Dr Dipti Gupta

Professor, IIT Bombay

Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, IoT, Biosensors and Nano-electronics

 Dr. Dipti Gupta is working as a Professor at Metallurgical Engineering and Material science (MEMS) department, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), India. She received her B- Tech from IIT Kanpur and continued her M-Tech and Ph.D. degree in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering in the same institute. Later she worked as a BK-21 Postdoctoral Fellow at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea and as an EPSRC Research Associate at Imperial College, London, U.K. She also spent two years with Department of Electrical Engineering, Seoul National University, Korea as BK Assistant Professor. She is also recipient of prestigious SERB Power Fellowship.

Dr Indranil Banerjee

Associate Professor, IIT Jodhpur

Tissue Engineering, Medical Engineering, Pharmaceuticals  

Indranil Banerjee is currently working as an Associate Professor at Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur. He completed his Biotechnology and Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in 2011. He has published more than 80 publications in the area of drug development and pharmaceutical science. Prior to joining IIT Jodhpur, he served as Assistant Professor in Department of Biotechnology and Medical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Rourkela for 8 years. He has been awarded with UGC- Dr. D.S.Kothari Post Doctoral Fellowship (2011) and Invited as Guest Scientist, Max Planck Institute of Intelligent system, Stuttgart, Germany (May-July, 13).

Dr Kshama Kothari

Director – Health, Social Alpha

Medical devices, Healthcare Investments, Clinical Practice, Product Management

Dr Kothari is a generalist professional with years of experience in domains of clinical practice, product management, commercial research, operations, and impact assessment of strategic decisions in private healthcare systems. I am on a journey that is continually iterating an inter-disciplinary understanding of – health systems, stakeholders, markets, policies and community engagement.

Dr Sujit Kumar Bhutia

Associate Professor, NIT Rourkela  

Cell Biology, Autophagy and Cancer                                                                                            

Profile: Dr Bhutia is currently working as Associate Professor at NIT Rourkela. He completed his PhD from IIT Kharagpur in 2008 in the field of Cell biology and Cancer. He is currently working to understand the role of autophagy and autophagy dependent cell death in cancer for development of novel therapeutics. He has received Odisha Bigyan Acadamy Young Scientist Award 2015. He has been recognised by ICMR International Fellowship for Young Indian Biomedical Scientist 2015-16.

Dr Vijaysimha Ajarananda

Emeritus Board Advisor, The Lemelson Foundation

Medical Devices, Deep Tech Innovations 

Vijay Simha graduated from BITS Pilani and has worked with new ways to analyze materials, manufacture large biomolecules, build markets and fail. He is fortunate to be a part of three sub-industrial revolutions that happened in India: the biotech, auto components and medical technology revolutions.

Dr Ashwin Kashikar

General Manager Technology, Ankur Seeds

Agritechnology, Biotechnology

Dr Ashwin is currently working as General Manager (R&D) at Ankur Seeds Pvt Ltd and Managing Director in a startup company GeNext Genomics Pvt Ltd. He is actively Mentoring Agri and Biotech startups with a mission to achieve successful business. Also, he is involved in scouting new technologies from external companies and universities that are relevant for the company’s future success, Management of external collaborations with Third parties (Academic and Industrial partners) for joint developments & ventures.

Dr Asim Mishra

CEO, Prantae Solutions Pvt Ltd                                              

Diagnostic Devices, Nanotechnology, Bio-sensors

Dr Mishra is a serial entrepreneur and currently serving as CEO, Prantae Solutions Pvt Ltd. Prantae is building key technologies for affordable molecular prognosis. Prior to this, he has served as CTO, KIIT TBI in promoting innovation and startup ecosystem in the country. He has a wide range of experience in working with different prestigious institutes and universities across the globe.

Dr Neelsarobar Bhavesh

Group Leader – Transcription Regulation, ICGEB

 NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography

Dr Bhavesh is currently working as Group Leader – Transcription Regulation in ICGEB. He completed his PhD from TIFR in 2003. His group uses an interdisciplinary approach encompassing a wide array of biophysical, biochemical and molecular biology techniques for understanding the structure and function of macromolecules with special thrust on molecular mechanisms of Protein-RNA interactions. He is member of the editorial board of Scientific Reports and reviews scientific manuscripts for international journals in the fields of structural biology and grant applications from various granting bodies in India. He presents regularly his research activity at international meetings and seminars.

Dr Debendra K Sahoo

Chief Scientist, CSIR IMT

Industrial Biotechnology and Processes, Microbial Technology, Biopharma


Dr Sahoo is an experienced Chief Scientist with a demonstrated history of working in the areas of biopharma and biotechnology . Skilled in Verification and Validation (V&V), Biological Engineering, Mammalian Cell Culture, Protein Chemistry, Bioprocessing, and Spectroscopy. Strong engineering professional with a PDF focused in Biochemical Engineering and Downstream Processing from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. He is currently a visiting scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr Amit Arora

Professor, IIT Bombay

Bioenergy, Bioprocessing, Downstream Processing, Food Processing, Membrane separations                                  

 Dr Arora is currently working as Professor in Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas at IIT Bombay. He completed his PhD Food and Bioprocess Engineering, ABE, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA, 2009. He has an experience of over a decade in biobased chemicals, biofuels, food security and functional foods.

Dr P Balasubramanian

Assistant Professor, NIT Rourkela

Environmental Biotechnology, Enzymology, Bioenergy, Sustainable development, Environmental Engineering      

Dr Balasubramanian is currently working as Assistant Professor at NIT Rourkela. He completed his PhD from IIT Madras in 2012. He has been an active researcher in the field of Environmental Biotechnology. Furthermore, he has been an active mentor and advisor for 10+ startups and innovators.

Dr Debashis Das

Medical/Clinical Affairs, Training & Education Lead – Asia Pacific, Medtronics

 Pharmaceutical & Medical Devices, Medical Affairs, Clinical trials, Advocacy 

Profile: Dr Das is a highly motivated result-oriented strategy, marketing & business development professional with over 20 years of experience in the Healthcare Arena, Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industry. He did PGCP Diabetology from Johns Hopkins USA, MD. Pharmacology from A.I.I.M.S New Delhi and MBBS from MKCG, Brahmapur Odisha. Dr Debashis is a medical doctor with specialization in Pharmacology & Diabetes with full-time MBA from a Global Business School having experience in all spheres in Pharmaceutical & Medical Devices Industry including – P&L Responsibility, Strategy & Innovation, New Product Launch, Market Entry Strategy, Market Development, Market Access, Medical Affairs, Clinical trials, Advocacy & Government Affairs. In addition, he has experience of recruiting, training, building and leading high performing team.

Mr. Mukesh Malik

CEO @ ProjectGK

Agritechnology, Business Management                               

I am an entrepreneur, who has learnt business management through on the ground practices and implementation by some wonderful mentors. I strongly believe in structured as well as on the ground learning, especially in the highly dynamic and innovative world today, with the experience of 20 years and 100+ organizations, working towards building a world class consulting set up.

Dr Ananta Bhan

Adjunct Faculty, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal

Public health, Bioethics, Healthcare policy

Dr. Anant Bhan works with Sangath at its Bhopal Hub office. He is a medical graduate with a master’s (MHSc) in Bioethics from the University of Toronto in Canada. He is a researcher in global health, health policy and bioethics with over 18 years of experience and numerous publications to his name. Anant Bhan is currently one of the leading voices on issues related to medical ethics and social justice in India. He is also the immediate past president of the International Association of Bioethics (2017-19), serves as an Adjunct Professor in Yenepoya University and as an Adjunct Faculty at KMC, Manipal, and is a member of several committees.

Dr Jayeeta Bhaumik

Scientist E, DBT CIAB

Agri-biomass valorization, various natural pigment synthesis

Dr. Jayeeta Bhaumik obtained PhD in Chemistry from North Carolina State University in 2007. She carried out postdoctoral research work at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital for over 4 years (2007-2011) while working in the interface of nanotechnology and in vivo imaging. She moved back to India in 2011 and joined NIPER Mohali as a Scientist in 2012 and worked on developing phototheranostic nanoagents till 2015. In early 2016, she joined NIPER Kolkata as an assistant professor of Medicinal Chemistry. Later that year, she moved to DBT-Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing and joined as Scientist-D/Senior Scientist. Currently, she also holds an adjunct Assistant Professor position at DBT-Regional Centre for Biotechnology. Her current work involves valorization of agri-biomass based lignin via developing functional materials including coatings, hydrogels, platform chemicals etc. She has 45 publications, 4 book chapters and 7 patents and she presented her work in many national and international conferences till date.

Dr Pranjal Chandra

Associate Professor, IIT BHU

Bio-Physio Sensors, Nanobioengineering, Microfluidics, Healthcare Technologies, Material Engineering 

Dr. Pranjal Chandra, PhD, FICS, MNASc, MRSC is currently employed as Assistant Professor at the School of Biochemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi, India. He earned his Ph.D. from Pusan National University, South Korea and did post-doctoral training at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel. Dr. Chandra has over 9.0 years of Professional experience after his doctoral research. His research focus is highly interdisciplinary, spanning a wide range in biotechnology, nanobiosensors, biochemical diagnostics, material engineering for diverse applications etc. Dr. Chandra is recipient of many prestigious awards, covated honours, and fellowships such as; Fellow of Indian Chemical Society (FICS), Shakuntala Amir Chand Prize 2020 by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), EAT RIGHT RESEARCH AWARD 2022 – FSSAI, DST Ramanujan fellowship (Government of India), etc.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) Scheme is grant-in-aid funding to support individuals and startups in the field of Biotechnology. BIG scheme invests in ideas that have clear potential to translate into commercial products/technologies. The scheme provides funding, mentorship, access to incubation, other supports for ideation to proof of concept. Funding will be in the form of Grant-in-Aid up to INR 50 Lakhs. So, if you have an idea, strong rationale supporting it, addressing an unmet need, you can apply for BIG funding to progress from ideation to Proof-of-concept.

Healthcare, Life sciences including Drugs, Biologics, Delivery systems, Medical Devices, Diagnostics, Biomaterials, others; Industrial Biotechnology including enzymes, biofertilizers, bioprocesses, waste treatment, others; Agriculture and allied areas such as Nutrition, Fisheries, Poultry, Sericulture, Animal Husbandry, Aquaponics, others; Waste to value; Sanitation; Biofuels, Clean Energy; Bioservices and Bioanalytics including Big Data, Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Automation integrated in Biotech applications.

BIG award provides funding support for buying equipment, reagents, components, hiring skilled manpower for team building, travel, incubation charges, rentals, engaging services, etc in the 18 months of BIG grant.

During the BIG tenure, BIRAC extends several networking opportunity to connect with experts, mentors, industry, investors, peer-to-peer learning, specialized trainings & workshops, exposure to various platforms on merit basis. These opportunities are made available through BIRAC’s ecosystem supporting partners including BIG partners, BioNEST clusters, and a huge network of extended partners.

Yes, if you are pursuing translational research leading to formation of a startup. As a procedural requirement, you are required to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your institute/employer. Faculty members who are not willing to create a Startup within BIG term of 18 months are encouraged to apply under other schemes of BIRAC for Faculty.

Yes, you can apply as an individual but need to provide an undertaking that you will terminate your association with the current employer and take up the project full time if selected.

Or, your application should be submitted under Company/LLP category with the employer company being the applicant company.

The indicative criteria for evaluation of an application include Unmet need, Value proposition, Technical viability, Team strength. Proposed product/ technology must have Commercialization Potential.

It is 4 tier selection process. All eligible applications go through the following steps:

  1. Preliminary Selection Committee (PSC) screens the proposals for scheme fit, adequacy of details, plagiarism
  2. The PSC recommended proposals are then reviewed Online by subject experts
  3. The recommended applicants are then called for F2F presentations before Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP). The proposal will be scored on a scale of 100.
  4. Expert Selection Committee (ESC) will decide the final cutoff of marks and recommend the proposals for BIG funding.

It typically takes 4 months for the final announcement of BIG results from closing of the call. You will be updated at each stage by BIG Partners about your application status.

No, but only ONE will be eventually funded. It is encouraged to submit the best one proposal (the most prioritized) by the applicant. Submitting more than one project reflects poorly on the applicant’s ability to prioritize options.

Incubator is a center that has the required lab infrastructure, required network to support your proposed BIG work. Certain BioNEST incubators have been officially recognized as BIRAC’s BIG Partners. These incubators are mandated to implentthe BIG Scheme (Facilitate and mentor the aspirant applicants and BIG grantees). BIG Partners are responsible for initial screening of the proposal, technical due diligence, financial due diligence, project monitoring, fund disbursement, arranging for workshops etc.

The applicant will receive the fund in a separate dedicated, auditable no-lien account. The fund disbursement is linked with milestones through BIRAC’s BIG Partners.

BIG grantees on successful progression to commercialization are required to pay 5% royalty on net sales of the product/technology developed through BIRAC support till the time such royalty payment becomes equivalent to the grant-in aid assistance disbursed by BIRAC for the Project.

Confidentiality is maintained for all the proposals that are received under different schemes. All the external reviewers sign a non-disclosure agreement and no conflict agreement before viewing the proposals.