IISc and Blockchain For Impact (BFI) Collaborate to Accelerate Biomedical Innovation

12 February 2024

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Blockchain For Impact (BFI) announced a collaboration under the BFI-Biome Virtual Network Programme, which will see BFI support various research projects at the Institute. The collaboration was formally launched at an event at IISc on Thursday, 8 February 2024.

BFI aims to allocate USD 1 million over the course of three years, for the BFI-Biome Virtual Network Programme and support collaborative projects aimed at translating research outcomes into tangible healthcare solutions. Under the partnership, BFI-Biome will support selected research projects in life sciences from IISc faculty. It is expected that two to three projects will be supported every year.

The event, held at IISc, was attended by Prof Govindan Rangarajan, Director, IISc, Prof Navakanta Bhat, Dean, Division of Interdisciplinary Sciences, Prof KJ Vinoy, Chair of the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, and members from the Office of Research Grants (ORG). Representatives from BFI including Dr Gaurav Singh, CEO, Dr Pooja Agrawal, Program Director, and Dr Satya Prakash Dash, Senior Advisor, were present. This partnership marks a significant step towards accelerating transformative healthcare solutions through cutting-edge biomedical innovation.

Mr Sandeep Nailwal, founder and visionary behind Blockchain For Impact expressed his delight on the launch of the BFI Biome Virtual Network partnership with IISc. With a USD 15 million programme dedicated to advancing Biomedical Research and Innovation in India, the BFI Biome initiative transcends traditional boundaries by integrating both upstream and deep science, creating an environment that drives innovation leading to transformative health solutions. This programme aims to bring together leading researchers, technologists, and innovators to collaborate and innovate to drive the next generation of intervention for improved healthcare. By partnering with eminent research institutes in India, BFI Biome seeks to support initiatives that have the potential to revolutionise healthcare delivery in India and the global south.

Dr Gaurav Singh, CEO of BFI, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “This collaboration with IISc is a matter of great pride and exemplifies our commitment to advancing biomedical research and innovation in India. We aim to act as catalysts, collaborating with partners to forge multi-sectoral alliances that deliver long-term, equitable medical preparedness mechanisms. And while funding is one key aspect, our commitment to the cause goes beyond financial support. Through our biomedical research and innovation arm, district-level full-stack partnerships, and process-driven innovation funding and support, we are working towards addressing critical gaps in India’s healthcare infrastructure. The BFI-Biome Virtual Network Programme is a significant first step in this direction.”

Dr Pooja Agrawal, Program Director, BFI, highlighted the potential impact of the collaboration, stating, “The partnership between BFI and IISc represents a milestone moment in our efforts to advance biomedical research and innovation in India. By leveraging the strengths of eminent Indian institutes, we aim to support cutting-edge translational research projects that have the potential to strengthen healthcare in the country. Through the BFI-Biome Virtual Network Programme, we are committed to supporting collaborative initiatives that address key healthcare challenges and drive positive change.”

Prof Govindan Rangarajan, IISc Director, emphasised the importance of collaboration in driving innovation, stating, “IISc is delighted to partner with BFI in this endeavour. By harnessing the expertise of our researchers and leveraging the funding support provided by BFI, we aim to accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into impactful healthcare solutions. This collaboration is an important step in ‘bench-to bedside’ innovation. It also exemplifies our continued commitment to advancing knowledge and driving positive societal impact.”

Dr Satya Prakash Dash, Senior Advisor, BFI, reflected upon the achievements of IISc since its inception, stating, “IISc has been led by distinguished leaders & the institution has played a pioneering role throughout its history in moving the frontiers of science & nation building. It has nurtured several deep science platform initiatives for greater societal benefit. Our collaboration intends to strengthen innovation through bringing multidisciplinary teams that is akin to an ecological ecotone with the potential to develop transformative biomedical solutions through nurturing exciting translatable ideas.”

Prof Navakanta Bhat, Dean of Interdisciplinary Sciences, IISc, appreciated the BFI-Biome Virtual Network Programme, stating, “The BFI vision aligns with the efforts of IISc to develop scientific solutions for the current healthcare challenges. With the IISc Medical School, IISc will create the next generation of physician-scientists in India by fostering interdisciplinary research, to address the healthcare needs of the world. Access to funding is a precursor towards the achievements of these goals.”

The announcement of the partnership between IISc and BFI lays the foundation of a series of collaborations that will add to the future of biomedical research and innovation in India. Through this partnership, BFI aims to establish itself as a key player in the Indian translational research ecosystem, driving positive change in healthcare ecosystem.

About IISc:
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) was established in 1909 by a visionary partnership between the industrialist Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, the Mysore royal family and the Government of India. Over the last 115 years, IISc has become India’s premier institute for advanced scientific and technological research and education. Its mandate is “to provide for advanced instruction and to conduct original investigations in all branches of knowledge as are likely to promote the material and industrial welfare of India.” In 2018, IISc was selected as an Institution of Eminence (IoE) by the Government of India, and it consistently figures among the top Indian institutions in world university rankings.

About ‘Blockchain For Impact’ (BFI):
Blockchain for Impact was set up during the 2nd wave of COVID pandemic in India, was created to help support those in need of help. As the world’s most transparent healthcare fund, BFI initially worked towards strengthening the Indian healthcare system through a sustained supply of medical equipment, vaccines, and relief kits. However, after the COVID wave, the focus transitioned towards early identification and prevention activities which sufficed in capacity building, genome sequencing, adding hospital beds, vaccination, and awareness campaigns.

What started as a Samaritan in emergency response has now transitioned towards a system that is involved in introducing programmatic interventions across the public health space at micro and macro levels. BFI aims to utilize skills, commitment, and technology to address current challenges and future gaps centred around health to help the marginalized and the vulnerable. With a special focus surrounding Biomedical Research and Innovation, BFI’s District-level Full Stack Program, Process-driven Innovation, and Relief work, BFI has been devised for pre-empting, predicting, and preparing India’s healthcare system for the inevitable pandemics.

From devising emergency relief measures to bringing programmatic interventions with long-term decision-making in perspective, ‘Blockchain For Impact’ remains driven towards improving the well-being of the marginalized across various priorities in the public healthcare space and aims to become a holistic support system for the future of Indian healthcare.

BFI-Biome Virtual Network Programme | bfi.biome@blockchainforimpact.in
Office of Communications, IISc | news@iisc.ac.in