In the past two decades, the number of students pursuing pure sciences has decreased. Right around the same time, two branches of life sciences emerged – Biotechnology and Microbiology. While microbiology was being offered as a B.Sc in graduation, Biotechnology took form as both B.Sc and B. Tech. These courses were popular in western countries, but began picking up momentum in India around the time.
Biotechnology is an upcoming branch of science that uses biological processes, systems and organisms to develop, synthesis and manufacture products that are aimed to improve the quality of life for humans.
It is an interdisciplinary stream that connects life sciences with engineering and gives rise to many specialisations. Biotechnology has been broadly classified into two main areas:
– Biological sciences research and
– Industrial manufacturing
The biological sciences arm deals with the biological aspects of the subject including microbiology, genetics, gene therapy, genetic engineering, tissue culture, stem cell research etc. The industrial arm deals with the processing and manufacturing including the production of various drugs, molecules, bioprocess engineering, vaccine manufacturing, beverage industry and various other biochemical products.
Biotechnology is a booming industry today and has been referred to as a boon to the planet. The earliest biotechnologists were the farmers who used cross-pollination to bring about new, stronger features into their produce.
The Indian biotechnology industry is said to comprise of 2% of the global biotechnology industry. The biotechnology industry in India consists of 800 companies and has a potential value of US$ 11.6 billion. The Indian government set up The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) established under the Ministry of Science and Technology in 1986.
There has been an increase in demand, and an obvious one, for different biotechnologically manufactured products and this has opened up scope for many foreign companies to set up base in India. India is becoming a pioneer and a leading destination for clinical trials, research and manufacturing activities owing to the growth in the bio-services sector. With the country offering numerous comparative advantages in terms of R&D facilities, knowledge, skill, and cost effectiveness, the biotechnology industry in India has immense potential to emerge as a global key player.
With the entire biotechnology industry changing the face of the planet, it is necessary to train and educate students to take up roles in the industry. Currently, the growth prospects in the industry are enormous.
In India, there are currently two types of courses offered at undergraduate level: B.Sc and B. Tech in biotechnology. The prime difference between the two lies in the fact that a B.Sc degree focuses on the biological aspects of the subject with a few modules on industrial processes and training. However, a B.Tech degree includes the biological subjects such as molecular biology, microbiology etc. The industrial subjects include Bioprocess Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Thermodynamics, etc. The difference between the two is clear but there is no ‘this course is better than the other’ scenario. While one course is research and development oriented, the other is more industry and manufacturing oriented.
Both these undergraduate courses have their Masters courses that can be pursued – M.Sc (Biotechnology) and M.Tech (Biotechnology). Love research? You can go ahead and pursue a PhD in the subject as well.
Around 10 years ago, the acceptance of biotechnology courses in India was not as positive and full of potential as they are today. However, we must understand that even though we have come a long way in establishing a prosperous and booming industry in India, it is still at the bud stage. For this reason, the number of career opportunities, pay packages, career growth is not as predictable as is seen in other specialities of science and engineering.
A student who graduates with a B. Tech degree in biotechnology can find lots of opportunities in research institutes, educational institutes, research labs and pharmaceuticals. A lot of students go ahead to pursue biomedical engineering in their masters, from Indian or Foreign universities, in order to specialise further. Most colleges offer campus placements for their B.Tech course but as mentioned earlier, it is unfair to compare the placements with those of the other counterparts in engineering domains.
For those students interested to pursue a B.Sc in the subject, a masters and even a PhD will take them a long distance in their careers. This enables the students to either work for a research lab or begin one of their own.
Start your career in the field of life sciences at Acharya Bangalore B-School. ABBS offers a B Sc. in Biotechnology/Genetics/ Microbiology/Biochemistry which benefits the students as the career opportunities are wide. Research opportunities are a plentiful for those who pursue B.Sc. Pharma industries have big opportunities for research and marketing jobs as there is a high demand.
With the ever increasing growth of the industry, it is but obvious, that the number of opportunities, jobs, and pay packages will improve and careers will flourish as time goes by. Also, with the increase in number of foreign companies investing in the Indian biotechnology industry, the scope only further expands.