Merck Millipore [India], the life science division of Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany announced the first set of winners of the ‘Merck Millipore India Innovation Awards’ 2012 (MMIIA).
The MMIIA was set up in 2011 to recognize exemplary research undertaken by scientists from government-funded and non-profit public research institutes in the fields of life science, i.e. green chemistry, medicinal chemistry, chemical and bio-analytics, proteomics, genomics, drug discovery and delivery, bio-manufacturing, biomarkers and synthetic biology.
The following three winning teams were selected from over a hundred applicants:
First Prize of Rs. 30,00,000 to Dr. Tapas Kumar Kundu, Dr. Ruthrotha Selvi Bharatha Vikru, Hari Kishore Annavarapu, Dr. Mantelingu Kempegowda from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru
Second Prize of Rs. 20,00,000 to Dr. Dhiraj Kumar, Dr. Ahmad Faisal Karim, Ms. Pallavi Chandra, Ms. Aanchal Chopra, Zaved Siddiqui, Dr. Ashima Bhaskar, Dr. Amit Singh from International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi
Third Prize of Rs. 10,00,000 to Dr. Rita Kumar, Dr. Abha Joshi, Dr. Anil Kumar, Dr. Tushya Kumar Saxena from Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi.
Addressing the selection process, Dr. Theodor Dingermann, Director of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt and a member of MMIIA’s Scientific Advisory Board said, “India is a global leader in biotechnology, medical and health research, and R&D by the scientific community here is extremely promising.
I am honoured to be a part of the MMIIA selection panel that aims to nurture the budding scientists and appreciate their significant contribution to the field of life sciences. The final selection criteria were based on the relevance of the project for the Indian society, novelty, the application, sustainability, commercial potential and impact of the project at the regional, national and global level.”
Dr. Claus-Dieter Boedecker, Managing Director, Merck Limited remarked, “The pharmaceutical market in India is growing at an accelerated pace and Indian scientists have made a significant contribution to this growth. The Merck Millipore India Innovation Awards is a bi-annual event with an aim to provide Indian scientists outside of the commercial research centres with appreciation and recognition.
Through this award we wish to fulfil their research aspirations and provide them the necessary resources to excel. The MMIIA reflects our global vision of being a leader in pharmaceuticals, chemicals and life science.”
Prantik Mukherjee, Head – Lab Solutions, Merck Millipore in India added, “The ‘Merck Millipore India Innovation Awards’ is the first-of-its-kind award conceptualized by Merck Millipore [India] in 2011. The eligibility criteria comprised of whether the research is funded by the government or non-profit institutes in India, innovations in life sciences, innovative products, technologies, processes, patents granted and papers published in 2011 and publications in highly ranked scientific journals. We are proud to honour eminent researchers in the country through this award and present a platform to further showcase their commitment to the life sciences sector.”
Dr. Tapas Kumar Kundu, Principal Investigator from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru and winner of the First Prize said, “Indeed it is a fantastic experience, I am delighted, honoured and humbled. More than this award on innovation I congratulate Merck Millipore for this idea. This will encourage young minds across India. It gives us an opportunity to work together for the need of science, the need of technology and the needs of the Indian society.”
Dr. Dhiraj Kumar, Principal Investigator from International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi and winner of the Second Prize remarked, “We are extremely delighted to receive this unique award from MMIIA. This award also encourages young researchers to excel in their respective field of research.”
Dr. Rita Kumar, Principal Investigator from Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi and winner of the Third Prize stated, “We are highly honoured on achieving this prestigious award and being recognized for our hard work.”
Besides Dr. Dingermann, the Scientific Advisory Board and the jury for MMIIA comprised of the
following distinguished scientists from India and Germany:
Dr. Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Calcutta University | Director, Centre for Research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at Calcutta University
Dr. Karl-Heinz Derwenskus, Senior Vice President, Head of Innovation Strategy, Technology Office Chemicals, Merck KGaA
Dr. Yamuna Krishnan, Senior Assistant Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR, Bengaluru, India
Dr. Ramesh Chander Kuhad, Professor at the Department of Microbiology in University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi
Professor G. D. Yadav, Vice Chancellor and R. T. Mody Distinguished Professor of the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai | J.C. Bose National Fellow
Dr. J. S. Yadav, Director Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India
The MMIIA website was open for entries from September 26, 2011 to February 29, 2012. The selection process was carried out from March 1 to May 31, 2012. Based on the screening according to the eligibility criteria 101 applications were nominated which comprised of 37 patents and 64 publications.
These nominations were then first evaluated by the Merck scientists who shortlisted the 66 valid nominations (35 patents, 31 publications). The final selection was done by the Scientific Advisory Board in a 3 stage process in which 10 finalists presented their research work in the last stage.