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Advisory Committee Meeting of Biotechnology held at JU

JU Biotechnology, A leading center of excellence – say experts

JAMMU, June 7: An Advisory committee meeting of the School of Biotechnology, University of Jammu as per the mandate of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT, GOI) was held in the University in the hybrid mode. Being the first meeting of the Advisory Committee, after his joining as the Vice-Chancellor, University of Jammu, Prof. Umesh Rai conveyed his best wishes to the faculty and students of the School of Biotechnology.

The meeting was chaired by Prof. Manoj K.Dhar, Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Jammu. The meeting was attended by Dr. Sudhanshu Vrati, Executive Director, Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB), Faridabad as DBT nominee, Prof. R.N.K. Bamezai, Former Vice-Chancellor, SMVDU, Katra, Director Delhi School of Public Health, University of Delhi; Prof. Neeraj Dilbaghi, Head Department of Nano and Biotechnology, Guru Jambeshwar University, Hisar; Dr. R.K. Maurya, Vice-President, Concord Biotech, Ahmedabad (Industry expert); Mr. Ankit Rana, Cluster Head – North Zone, Life Sciences Sector Skill Development Council, New Delhi.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Manoj K. Dhar, traced the history of establishment of the Department of Biotechnology in the University during 1998 – 1999 and its growth and development with the active support and patronage of the Vice-Chancellors, eminent Scientists and academicians.

He mentioned that with the introduction of post-graduate programmes in Microbiology, Biochemistry and an innovative programme in Bioinformatics, the School of Biotechnology has made enormous progress and has over the years produced well trained and quality human resources.

The School of Biotechnology is considered to be one of the leading Biotechnology Departments in the country and has been ranked ‘A’ by the DBT, Prof. Dhar informed. He expressed hope that the advisory committee will critically assess the progress of the School and shall give suggestions for further improvement. In view of the implementation of the National Educational Policy 2020, the course curricula needs to be strengthened with courses in frontline areas, he remarked. He mentioned about efforts taken in this direction during the last two years involving National and International experts.

Prof. B. K. Bajaj Director, School of Biotechnology gave a detailed presentation of the progress made by the School in the last five years (2017-2022). Prof. Bajaj highlighted that the School of Biotechnology has high-quality infrastructure developed out of the grants awarded by various funding agencies like DBT, UGC, DST (PURSE, FIST), CSIR, ICMR, ICAR, NMPB, RUSA and International fundings from IUSSTF-US, DAAD-Germany, BBSRC-UK, Commonwealth Commission UK, ERASMUS-MUNDUS, EU-Co-Fund, VLIR-UOS (Flanders, Belgium).

Competent faculty having recognition at National and International level has been a major driving force for the progress of the School, he said. The admission of M.Sc Biotechnology is based on the Graduate Aptitude Test – Biotechnology (GAT-B) entrance test conducted by Regional Centre for Biotechnology, GOI Faridabad. Prof. Bajaj highlighted the unique components of the curriculum followed by the School of Biotechnology which has greatly helped the students in finding placements/ admission for higher studies in National and International institutions. All the faculty members of the School are actively engaged in research.

This is exemplified by the fact that all the faculty members have extramural research grants worth crores of rupees. The projects deal with the problems of local, National and global importance. Besides, the faculty has published about 250 research papers in high Impact factor International and National journals in the last five years.

The advisory committee members appreciated the progress made by the School of Biotechnology over the years especially during the last five years in terms of trained human resource, research projects from International and National funding agencies, introduction of new courses and quality publications.

The committee members highlighted that the Dissertation work being conducted by the M. Sc. Students is comparable to that of highly reputed Universities in India. Based on the excellent progress shown by the School, the experts were of the opinion that the School has emerged as a leading Centre of Excellence. Dr. Sudhanshu Vrati, congratulated the faculty for building the Department impressively. He recommended the introduction of various courses like Structural Biology, System Biology and skill based courses in the curriculum.

Prof. R.N.K Bamezai, while appreciating the progress of the School recommended the consolidation and integration between different subject areas. He emphasized to align the subject areas with Skill Councils to develop the culture of Startups and entrepreneurship among the students. He emphasized that addition of skill oriented courses to the curriculum would make the students industry ready. Prof. Neeraj Dilbaghi while appreciating the remarkable progress made by the School suggested to develop more intra- and inter-university collaborations and also introduce courses on frontier areas in the curriculum.

Dr. R.K. Maurya, Vice-President, Concord Biotech, Ahmedabad while appreciating the progress of the School suggested to convert research to technology to make it industry oriented. All the experts were of the opinion that the research work being conducted in the School is patentable and there is a need for the establishment of a Patent cell in the University.

Mr. Ankit Rana from Life Sciences Sector of Skill Development Council, New Delhi also suggested the industry-oriented electives including QC analysis and training on sophisticated equipment to make the student industry-ready.

Prof. Rajni Dhingra informed the members that the University has been doing all efforts to strengthen research activities and a Research Fund has been created to meet the research needs of the faculty members. Prof. Naresh Padha also reiterated to have intra University collaborations and appreciated the curriculum, especially the dissertation work based on original research problems being conducted by the M. Sc Students. The faculty of the School also participated in the meeting and thanked the members of the advisory committee for constructive suggestions that would lead the School to newer heights.