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Thursday, September 16, 2010

BioTech Schools grow 5-fold in 10 years

Competition for admission to good institutions gets intense

BioTech Industry absorbs just one-third, two-fifths go abroad for higher studies

The spiraling growth of the $3.1 billion biotechnology industry has led to a five fold increase in the education infrastructure at the graduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels in the last decade. So much so that supply now far outstrips the demand with the industry able to absorb barely one third of the graduating biotechnology students

Compared to the barely 100 odd institutions that offered biotechnology courses a decade ago, today there are over 500 academic institutions (both public and private), offering BioTech-programs at the graduate (BTech), post-graduate (MSc and MTech) and doctoral level, finds a survey by BioSpectrum, a BioTech Industry journal, to identify the Top 20 Biotech Schools in the country.

The journal estimates that in 2009 nearly 40,000 students sought admission in biotechnology programs. The enrollments in the academic year beginning 2009 showed a drop of 15-20% compared to 2008 due to economic uncertainty. A total of over 150,000 students, pursuing various biotech programs in the country, invested over Rs 1,050 crore in tuition fee alone in 2009.

This, however, does not include a range of three-year graduate programs in biology offered in over 6,000 colleges.

“BioTech programs are the new flavour of the millennium. For every seat being offered by the top public academic institutions, there are nearly 40 applicants. However, the biotech and allied industries are able to absorb just about one-third of the students output annually,” says Narayanan Suresh, Chief Editor of BioSpectrum.

“About 40% of the BioTech graduates and post graduates go abroad for higher studies. A bulk of the remaining graduates are absorbed by the software industry,” adds Suresh while urging the industry to invest more in R&D to reverse this trend in the industry that trains nearly 1,50,000 graduates and postgraduates annually.

The BioSpectrum survey reveals that the fee charged by private institutions is four to five times the average annual fee charged by Government institutions. In addition to the tuition fees many private institutions are known to charge an upfront one time fee of Rs 100,000 under various heads.

A majority of the biotech programs are offered by institutions located in the south Indian states. But the top institutions, ranked by BioSpectrum, in both public and private sector are evenly distributed in the north, south and west. The east region continues to show little interest in biotechnology.

Jaypee University of Information Technology based in Solan in Himachal Pradesh has emerged as the No.1 BioTech School in the private sector. Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, earlier known as the Mumbai University’s Department of Chemical Technology, is the No.1 institution in the public sector.

While a student pursuing masters from a public institute pays just Rs 49,200 for the two-year course, students opting to study biotechnology at private institutes pay six-and-a-half times the amount according to the results of the 6th BioSpectrum BT School Survey. The tuition fee in the private institutions goes up to Rs 3,20,000 per course per student. A few institutions charge as high as three times the average tuition fee.

The disparity in fee structure is wide. In contrast to the lakhs charged by the private institutes, premier universities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University charge a meagre fee of Rs 1,391 for a two-year program. Leading universities such as Cochin University of Science and Technology, MS University of Baroda, Banaras Hindu University offer biotechnology programs to students at Rs 6,190, Rs 4,260 and Rs 8,858 for the entire course.

About BioSpectrum

BioSpectrum and BioSpectrum Asia offer an integrated B2B media platform for life sciences industry in India and the Asia Pacific region. Together they offer an online portal, fortnightly digital magazine and monthly print magazine as formats of delivery. The BioSpectrum was awarded for Excellence in New Business Models Category at the Asian Publishing Award 2008.

About CyberMedia

CyberMedia is the largest specialty media house in South Asia. It has leading media brands in the region including Dataquest, PCQuest, Voice&Data,BioSpectrum, BioSpectrum Asia, DARE, Global Services, Living Digital, MIT’s Technology Review and Halsbury’s Law Monthly


CyberMedia reaches out to a community of over 1.5 million people throughpublications, websites, events and TV programs. Its brands cover infotech,telecom, biotech, entrepreneurship, outsourcing, consumer electronics, and legal domains.

Its media services include IDC India, the leading ICT market research companyin the region; and Content Matrix, USA which provides through its subsidiaries, custom publishing and content management services.

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