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Rs. 38 Million Allocated for Bio-Tech Research

Islamabad, May 21, 2002. Ministry of Science & Technology has approved a project for the promotion of biotechnology research and preparation of a biotechnology action plan. The project will be implemented by Pakistan Council for Science & Technology in a period of 36 months. An amount of Rs. 38 million has been allocated for the project.            Biotechnology was declared among the top priority areas in the third meeting of National Commission for Science & Technology (NCST). The project has been launched to improve the existing research in agriculture, livestock, and medical sectors at universities and R&D organizations. Active scientists will be provided funds for taking part in innovative aspects of research in biotechnology and to utilize the revolutionary findings in this field to strengthen existing technologies and to develop new ones according to the needs of our society.
            Biotechnology is a fast emerging field and 21st century is expected to be a “Biotech Century”. Biotechnological revolution has led to the establishment of many thousand new “bioengineering” firms around the world. In United States alone there are 1300 biotech companies with a total revenue of about $ 13 billion and more than 100,000 employees. This development has occurred only in the first decade of a technological and economic revolution that is likely to span several decades in future.
            Biotechnology, a multidisciplinary field in which modern techniques of genetic engineering are applied to utilize the biologic systems, is used for a variety of commercial and industrial applications in the greater interest of mankind and development of societies.
            Pakistan with a population of about 140 million is facing variety of problems primarily associated with population explosion and searcity of resources. Therefore, we need to devise strategies to feed our people and have a system of sustainable economic development. For the promotion of bio-tech research programmes related to development of human resources, strengthening of the existing research laboratories with the requisite manpower, equipment and other essentials, and establishment of at least one biotechnology laboratory in Baluchistan will be undertaken. Under the project liberal grants will be made active research scientists working in this field. The decision about research grants will be made on the basis of performance evaluation and the relevance of projects proposed to the commercialization potential and social/economic benefits.
            An important aspect of this project will be to encourage involvement of private sector for biotechnology related activities and thus play an important role in the commercialization of research, particularly in agriculture and health sectors.
            The project proposals will be prioritized and selected on the basis of their relevance to solving agriculture, health, and environment related problems for example the use of (1) Fermentation for development of bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers, Tissue Culture for mass production of disease free plants, Genetic Engineering for development crops with novel traits, (2) Pre-natal diagnosis of inherited disorders, early diagnosis of cancer, and commercial production of therapeutically proteins for development of vaccines for common diseases, and (3) Biorediation for cleaning up contaminated soils, development of bacteria for waste disposal, and development of biofuels.

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