Infosys Foundation provides corpus support to the Bangalore Life Science Cluster to promote global connectivity in scientific research
A donation from the Infosys Foundation to the Bangalore Life Science Cluster will boost support for international travel amongst early career researchers
Science is an endeavor that cannot be undertaken in isolation; and the best exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise among the scientific community often occurs during international conferences or visits to other research groups’ laboratories. The philanthropic arm of India’s IT giant Infosys, the Infosys Foundation, is now extending much-needed support in encouraging international travel and collaboration amongst researchers. The Infosys Foundation has announced that it will provide INR 5 crores as corpus funding to the Bangalore Life Science Cluster, for 35 early-career researcher travel awards each year for international travel and stay at research laboratories outside of India. The Bangalore Life Science Cluster is composed of three premier centres for biological research – the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (CCAMP).
This travel support will be a tremendous opportunity for students and post-doctoral researchers at the Cluster to broaden their horizons, train in the latest research techniques worldwide and make new connections. These interactions are crucial, not only for the flow of expert knowledge into the Indian scientific community, but also for researchers to gain an understanding of their work in the context of global science.
“Science is a globalized activity. Though the Cluster is small, we do excellent science because we are in constant dialog with the best science being done internationally. Central to this is our ability to share our work and collaborate with colleagues from around the world,” said Dr. Mukund Thattai, the Head of Academic Activities at NCBS and inStem.
“The travel awards supported by this donation from the Infosys Foundation will allow us to maintain and grow these crucial international connections, so we can continue to be at the forefront of research in the life sciences,” he added.
Of the 400-odd students and post-doctoral researchers at the Cluster, around 200 travel abroad every year to attend conferences or to spend time with the research groups of scientists who collaborate with faculty members from this campus.
“I believe that my stay abroad was a real eye-opener for me. I learnt a lot of molecular and microscopy techniques that were not only needed for my work, but were also immensely useful for other colleagues within the group. Most importantly, I also gained confidence in discussing and presenting my own work on a global platform”, reminisced Priyankana Mukherjee, who spent six months as a student at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel to teach and learn microscopy techniques involving developmental biology.
“In India, we conduct science in a certain way – visiting Stanford opened my eyes to the ease and speed with which things can be done. An environment of that kind stimulates you to think unconventionally and without boundaries; and you carry the lesson forever. Such exposure fundamentally changes your approach to performing research, I believe, for the better,” said Tejas Gupte, a former post-doctoral fellow from inStem who spent three months at Stanford University.
The Infosys Foundation donation, the first of its kind towards an Endowment Fund initiated at the Bangalore Life Science Cluster, provides a hugely promising start to building a corpus that will help the Cluster fund its future scientific endeavors.
“As we continue to strive for excellence at our campus and build a globally competitive scientific environment, we must continuously engage with the best in the business. Many a time this means going to international scientific meetings, colloquia and workshops and laboratories abroad. This is because often the centre of research in the different areas that we address are not all at our doorstep. What better way to gain such engagement and traction in the international arena of science than sending our students and post-doctoral fellows to attend meetings and workshops abroad and engage with the best laboratories globally. Infosys itself is no stranger to engaging globally while acting locally, and we are particularly delighted at this generous corpus fund from the Infosys Foundation to help us in this endeavor of ours,” said Prof. Satyajit Mayor, Director of NCBS and inStem.
Speaking about the grant, Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation said, “We firmly believe that Research in areas such as Science and Mathematics is critical to a nation’s development. To build a sustainable economy, there is an urgent need to usher in a transformative student intelligentsia. This partnership with the Bangalore Life Science Cluster will enable us to facilitate a global environment for students – the future leaders, and amplify their horizons. In today’s interconnected world, educational and cultural exchanges are necessary; the focus is on students as global citizens as we move into a borderless world.”