BIRAC SITARE
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BIRAC SITARE – Rs 15 Lakh Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Grant

Indian Nationals who are postgraduates or doctoral students are eligible to apply for the (SITARE-GYTI). If you have an innovative project in the area of biotechnology, do consider applying for this grant. Interested applicants can check out all of the details on the scheme, the description, application procedure and more below:

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SITARE Scheme

Students Innovations for Translation & Advancement of Research Explorations (SITARE)
Scheme is aimed at supporting innovative student projects in the area of biotechnology. The scheme’s mandate is to promote and encourage young students for embracing translational research (defined under Section 4) to develop innovative products and technologies addressing unmet needs. SITARE-GYTI Award Grant is not a usual research fellowship. The scheme also provides an opportunity for orientation, training and mentoring through residential workshops etc.

The scheme has two components:

  • SITARE-Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award Grant (SITARE-GYTI): 15 innovative student projects will receive funding support of up to INR 15 lakhs each. SITARE-GYTI encourages postgraduate and doctoral students to undertake projects with commercial potential leading to the creation of biotech startups. The fund recipients are recognized as BIRAC’s SITARE-GYTI beneficiaries.
  • SITARE-Appreciation Grant: Residential workshops called as Biotech Innovation
    Ignition School (BIIS) for undergraduate students are organized to provide hands-on technical training and mentorship for problem identification in 3-4 weeks duration. Out
    of 30-40 students per workshop, 10 students are selected and provided grant support
    of up to INR 1 lakh each to encourage their inquisitiveness and sustained efforts. The
    recipients are recognized as BIRAC’s SITARE-Appreciation beneficiaries. In a year, 3 such workshops are conducted.

Applications for SITARE-GYTI Award Grants and BIIS workshop participants are invited at
the national level. Processes and terms relevant to both have been distinctly provided below.

2. Processes and Terms related to SITARE-GYTI Award Grant:

2.1 Eligibility: An Indian Student (Refer definition under Section 4) pursuing Ph.D/Masters* in any discipline is eligible to apply for this awarded grant. The student should have a valid ID issued by the Institution/University. A No objection Certificate (NoC), as per prescribed format needs to be submitted along with the application.

*Exceptions for exceptional talent: Meritorious candidature outside the above eligibility
criteria may be considered for SITARE with approval of BIRAC’s competent authority.

2.2 Nature of Proposals supported:

  • Translational research (Refer definition under Section 4) proposals to develop
    innovative products and technologies with a potential to address unmet needs
  • The work supported through SITARE-GYTI Award Grant is expected to lead to creation
    to biotech startups. Hence, only proposals with the potential to commercialize innovative
    products and technologies will be considered for support.

2.3 Areas covered

SITARE-GYTI award grant proposals can be submitted in any domain including Healthcare,
Lifesciences, Diagnostics, Medical Devices, Drugs, Vaccines, Drug Formulations and delivery
systems, Industrial Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Agriculture, Secondary agriculture, Waste Management, Sanitation, Clean Energy and Artificial Intelligence/IoT with application in any of these areas.

See Also
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BIRAC encourages interdisciplinary proposals from any stream that can help
the conversion of innovative ideas into biotech products and technologies in any of the above fields.

2.4 Duration of the project

The funding is provided for a period of up to 24 months. The project is implemented in a
milestone-based manner.

In case the grant award duration extends beyond degree programme, the grantee is
encouraged to incubate in any of the bio incubators for completing SITARE-GYTI award grant mandate.

Extension: Extension of grant award duration is discouraged. Request for extension of
milestone/project can be considered (without any additional financial implications) only in
selected cases based on the recommendation of the SITARE-GYTI Review Committee conducted by SITARE Partner/BIRAC. However, such request with proper justification must reach SITARE Partner/BIRAC well before the scheduled date of completion of the grant award period.

2.5 Application Process

Proposals shall be submitted online only during an active Call for Proposals.
Frequency of Call: Once a year
The month of announcement: August/September
Call Duration: The call is typically open for 45-60 days

Process for submitting the proposals online is detailed below:

  • Log on to the BIRAC website www.birac.nic.in
  • If you are a registered user, log-in using the credentials, else you need to register
    yourself as an individual by clicking on New User Registration.
  • In case of new user registration, a computer-generated password would be sent to the
    email-id provided at the time of registration. The password can be changed later.
  • Once you login, you would be navigated to the page displaying SITARE link.
  • Click on the SITARE-GYTI link under Programmes and the active call would be
    highlighted.
  • Click on the active call against which you wish to submit the proposal.
  • Further details on How to submit a proposal would be available in the SITARE User
    Guide available on the website.

2.6 Selection Process

The applications received will be subjected to basic eligibility check. Stage wise
screening of applications will be done by relevant Committees with domain experts.

a) Initial Stage: At this stage, proposals will be examined for preliminary technical
strength and suitability of translational research mandate
b) Short listing Stage: This stage will have review of applications by a team of
experts based on online review comments and specific project/work plan.
c) Recommendation Stage: At this stage, final shortlisted candidates# will be called
for presentation before an Expert Panel

# Class II Rail fare can be reimbursed to the invited outstation students.

2.7 Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation of proposals received will include the following criteria at each step of selection:

  • Novelty
  • Technical Rigor
  • Competence of Student
  • Societal/Commercial Value
  • Frugality

2.8 Support provided to beneficiaries under the scheme

  • The funding support under SITARE is in the form of grant-in-aid.
  • Extent of funding is up to INR 15 lakhs
  • The fund allocation is milestone based and released in installments of up to INR 5 lakhs
    each based on review of the milestone achieved.
  • Guidance related to planning and utilization of funds is provided in Section 2.9 below.
  • SITARE Partner and BIRAC provide continuous mentoring support to the fund
    recipients, including but not limited to the following:
    o Technical Mentoring
    o IP Support
    o Legal Support
    o Networking and Outreach
    o Trainings
    o Regulatory Advice
    o Business Mentoring
    o Fund raising
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2.9 Utilization of Grant Money

  • Development of Prototype (including outsourcing activity)-Up to 30%
  • Travel: Up to 15%
  • Incubator Rentals: Up to 15%
  • Manpower: Up to 15% (may be drawn as salary by the Project Investigator (SITAREGYTI Fund recipient) during incubation or may be paid to another team member for
    technical assistance anytime during the project)
    o The fund recipient shall not be eligible to draw any manpower cost while
    pursuing degree programme
  • Consumables: Up to 20%
  • Training and conferences: Up to 10%
  • Contingency: 5%

2.10 Signing of Agreement and Fund Disbursement

  • Agreement of funding
    On the announcement of finally selected students, a Grant Award Letter Agreement (GALA) needs to be signed by the Fund Recipient and SITARE Partner. Format of GALA is available on the website of SITARE Partner/BIRAC.
  • Other Requisites for Funds Disbursement
    In addition to the signing of GALA, the fund recipient needs to open up a No-Lien Account
    with a scheduled/nationalized Bank before release of first instalment.

2.11 Mentoring, Monitoring and Review

  • SITARE Partner along with BIRAC support shall provide mentoring and monitor the
    progress of grant recipients periodically.
  • SITARE Partner shall organize and conduct:
    o Induction Programme for Award Grant Recipients
    o Biannual review of projects by SITARE Review Committee
  • Final Review will be done by BIRAC towards completion of the project

2.12 Transfer of Award Grant:

  • The awarded grant is non-transferable.

2.13 Foreclosure and Termination

  • In case, during the Project Duration, if it is found that the Project or any Project
    component is not likely to lead to successful completion, SITARE Partner/ BIRAC may
    decide to foreclose the Project or a specific Project component as warranted. The decision of BIRAC shall be final in all respects. If the Fund Recipient likes to continue the Project at its own cost, it would be able to do so without restrictions from SITARE Partner/ BIRAC after complying with these provisions.
  • The Fund Recipient may, before the completion of the Project, terminate the project by giving one month’s notice in writing to SITARE Partner/BIRAC. SITARE Partner/BIRAC may also terminate the Grant Award Letter Agreement (GALA) by written notice in the event of “the Fund Recipient” committing breach of any term of ALA and either not rectifying it to the satisfaction of SITARE Partner/BIRAC or not satisfying SITARE Partner/BIRAC about its inevitability within a specified period. In the event of termination of the ALA, no further disbursement shall be made by SITARE Partner/BIRAC.
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2.14 Other Terms and Conditions

  • A student can receive SITARE-GYTI Award Grant only once.

2.15 Expected Deliverable:

The scheme’s mandate is to promote and encourage young students to embracing
translational research to develop innovative products and technologies addressing unmet
needs. The work supported through SITARE-GYTI is expected to lead to the generation of
Intellectual property and creation to biotech startups.

2.16 Acknowledgement of BIRAC support

The fund recipient is obliged to acknowledge the assistance of BIRAC while publishing,
marketing the resultant Product or presenting in any manner the details of the Project, its
progress or its success along with a “Disclaimer” that reference therein to any specific
commercial product, process, views or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or
otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or
assuming liability of any sort by the BIRAC. Use of BIRAC logo is not permitted without
written approval from BIRAC.

2.17 Results of SITARE-GYTI:

Intellectual Property, technology know-how generated during the SITARE-GYTI projects
will generally follow institutional norms. BIRAC encourages to assign ownership and
inventorship to BIRAC SITARE award grantee.

2.18 Data Sharing with SITARE Partner:

Information submitted by the applicants as part of SITARE-GYTI application will be shared
with SITARE partner. SITARE Partner will be an integral part of SITARE-GYTI
Implementation.

SITARE Partner will execute a Confidentiality Agreement and No-Conflict-of-Interest
document with reviewers before sharing any information provided in the SITARE-GYTI
application.

2.19 Scope of activities undertaken by SITARE Partner for SITARE-GYTI Implementation:

  • View and process online applications received for SITARE-GYTI
  • Screen applications for eligibility and suitability for the scheme
  • Carry out online Technical Review of eligible applications through Subject Experts
    (Reviewers)
  • Shortlist proposals for F2F/skype/telephonic interview by an Expert Panel
  • Communicate decision to applicants at each step of selection
  • Seek BIRAC approval on final selection of grantees
  • Sign an Grant Award Letter Agreement (GALA) with Grantees on behalf of BIRAC
  • Organize an induction programme for every batch of Grantees
  • Disburse funds and monitor the targeted milestones
  • Organize periodic review meetings
  • Provide mentorship and handholding for domain expertise and activities including but
    not limited to IP management, mobilizing resources and other business development
    related activities
  • Provide platforms/opportunities for interaction with experts.
  • Facilitate transition of graduating SITARE-GYTI Award Grantees to incubator settings
    during Award duration.
  • Provide periodic updates and reports on SITARE-GYTI Award Grantees to BIRAC
  • Any other required activity for effective implementation of SITARE-GYTI on mutual
    consent with BIRAC.

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