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Biological research in India used to be held back by an authoritarian university system, insufficient resources and a lack of competition.

But things are changing. The Department of Biotechnology, set up in the mid-1980s, has reduced bureaucracy, increased funding and encouraged the sharing of expertise and infrastructure.

In this article in Nature, Inder Verma argues that India's biotechnology sector will not take off unless the country encourages innovation and rewards excellence.

Securing funds for good bioscience research is no longer a problem, says Verma, but innovation can still be hampered by the 'top-down' system persisting in most universities. This stifles creativity and discourages researchers from questioning authority — both requirements for scientific progress, he says.

Verma adds that despite India's biotechnology successes, many of its people still live in poverty. Until this changes, he concludes, most Indians will never see the benefits of India's scientific advances.

Link to full article in Nature