A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed yesterday in the presence of Prime Ministers of India & France during the visit Shri Narendra Modi to France, for establishing an Institute for frontier Marine Science & Technology Research in the five years. Under the MOU India’s Department of Biotechnology would join hands with the Université Pierre Et Marie Curie (UPMC) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France’s National Centre for Scientific Research- CNRS) to set up a the National Institute of Marine Biology and Biotechnology in India. As a part of this France would contribute expertise in developing high standard marine stations for collaborative research programmes, train manpower, facilitate setting up efficient research infrastructure, facilities & technologies. Indian would bring interest & proficiency in cell & molecular biology & biotechnology. It will also provide Indian researchers access to the French marine stations with extraordinary technical capabilities.
The Institute will carry out fundamental science research with a multidisciplinary approach and will collaboratively address the most important topics in marine biology and marine biotechnology.
India’s several marine zones offer immense resources which can be tapped for biology and biotechnology research. Applications of molecules and bio-materials discovered from marine sources are also numerous. But most of the resources remain poorly charted and relatively untouched. The country can boast of a handful of talented biologists, who can rapidly chart our marine and island diversity, make discoveries and apply them to human and animal welfare. They can be potential leaders in this venture.
The charting of our Island diversity will soon be accomplished in collaboration with ISRO and the deep sea exploration will be done in collaboration with the Earth Sciences Ministry.
This collaboration is expected to address this challenge by upgrading human resources, boosting capacity and sophisticated technology needed to explore high-speed and high-quality Ocean and island- biology at the highest international level.
The French have a chain of the world’s best marine stations (Roskoff, Banyuls and Villefranche) and these are linked to other European marine stations. Harnessing the expertise they have developed in the area, can help speed up the process which would take years to develop independently.
The collaboration will help set up a high-tech hub and two major ‘spokes’ in mainland India. These centres will train a new generation of marine biologists and bio-technologists in the use of the best scientific methods and techniques. In parallel, India will develop its own marine stations while learning from this collaborative hub. The smaller stations will be set up in chosen locations from the Andamans to Kutchand Lakshadweep escalating the development of the country’s own programmes.