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Project To Help India Fight Future Pandemics On The Anvil, ILSF Hopes To Fund

Project To Help India Fight Future Pandemics On The Anvil, ILSF Hopes To Fund
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Bengaluru: As India wages a battle against COVID-19, a science foundation promoted by eminent scientists, academics and management professionals hopes to soon fund a project aimed at contributing to India''s response to future pandemics. "Within the next few weeks we hope to announce the first project to be funded which is of relevance to India''s ability to mount an effective response to future pandemics," said CEO of Ignite Life Science Foundation (ILSF), Swami Subramaniam but did not share further details. ILSF also announced that Biocon founder and Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw has contributed Rs 5 crore to the organisation dedicated to funding promising life science research. According to a joint statement issued on Wednesday by Mazumdar Shaw Philanthropy and ILSF, her donation to the donor-funded foundation will be part of the initial pool of funding for the research projects on Pandemic Preparedness. These projects support national efforts in preparing for and responding to future pandemics, they said, adding a key goal will be to build competencies that will enable India to mount a quick and effective response to future pandemics. Nobel Laureate Dr Venki Ramakrishnan (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, the UK), who launched the ILSF on January 15 last year, was quoted as saying in the statement that no country can prosper in the 21st century without being a technologically advanced, knowledge-based society. This, Ramakrishnan said, requires substantial investment in science and innovation, an area in which India lags not only the West but also Asian countries like China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. "Most advanced countries have significant private investment in science, which is lacking in India. The Ignite Life Science Foundation thus has a crucial role to play in catalysing change, and the substantial initial donation by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw will hopefully set an example for other donors", he said. Subramaniam said ILSF''s purpose is to promote a vibrant ecosystem for scientific research in India by working with the stakeholder community, including philanthropists, scientists, policy makers in the government and the beneficiaries of the outcomes of scientific research. According to him, ILSF will use a highly selective curatorial approach to screen projects and scientists for funding. Scientists will be supported through the lifecycle of the project through mentorship and access to networking opportunities through the wider network of scientists accessible through ILSF. ILSF will select programme areas that target a specific India relevant problem, he said, adding, a multidisciplinary approach towards solving problems and collaborations between scientists at different institutions will be actively encouraged. ILSF is promoted among others by Professor Pankaj Chandra (Vice Chancellor, Ahmedabad University), Professor Jyotsna Dhawan, (Emeritus Scientist, CCMB-Hyderabad), Professor Gagandeep Kang (Wellcome Trust Laboratory CMC, Vellore) and Professor Shahid Jameel (Director Trivedi School of Biosciences. —PTI

Updated : 9 Jun 2021 4:19 PM GMT
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