The Government of India is taking immense measures to inculcate entrepreneurial spirit. Among the various government funding opportunities available, DBT-BIRAC's Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) is one such flagship program that will support the prototype development of life science-oriented solutions. It offers up to INR 50L for a period of 18 months to develop a marketable solution. The innovators can explore themes like Medical Devices, Drugs/Vaccines, Biosimilars/Stem cells, Diagnostics, Industrial Biotechnology, Biofuels, Waste Management, Agriculture, Biopesticide, Food Processing, Animal Husbandry, AI/ML Automation, etc.

Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre, IIT Kanpur is one of the 8 designated partners for the BIG. Our experienced team handholds and mentor the entire proposal writing process and mock presentation, and support the incubation of promising business ideas since 2018. As BIG Partner, SIIC IITK has mobilized over INR 20+ cr to our 50+ BIG grantees across India. Our 60+ mentors have nurtured these startups.

Focus Domains




Industrial Biotechnology

Biosimilars Stem cells

Waste Management

Biosimilars Stem cells

Food Processing




Drugs vaccines


  • Any graduate, researcher, innovator or startup (<5 years old w.e.f 1st Aug 2021 and having>51% shares with Indian citizens working in the biotechnology sector).
  • Senior research fellows/scholars having finished/finishing in < 6 months PhD/Post-Doc.
  • Final semester students /recently graduated alumni of UG & PG in any discipline.
  • Permanent/contractual, technical staff. 5. Independent innovators, scientists, and prospective entrepreneurs (BBA/MBA etc. graduates) across science, engineering, management, and technology schools/departments.


Application Process

  • Step 1

    Call for proposal opens

  • Step 2

    Get in touch with a BIG Partner/BIG Associate Partner

  • Step 3

    Handholding on proposal writing

  • Step 4

    Final submission

  • Step 5

    Preliminary eligibility Screening

  • Step 6

    Online review round

  • Step 7

    Technical Evaluation Panel

  • Step 8

    Expert Screening Committee

  • Step 9

    Final approval

  • Step 10

    Financial Due Diligence

  • Step 11

    Grants released and Project begins

Months Program Duration

BIG Grantees Supported

Funding Released

Follow-on Funding

Applications Received

BIG Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Application / Eligibility FAQs

Who can apply?

Any graduate researcher innovator or startup (<5 years old w.e.f 1st Aug 2021 and having >51% shares with Indian citizens working in the biotechnology sector).

Senior research fellows/scholars having finished/finishing in <6 months PhD"/Post-Doc

Final semester students /recently graduated alumni of UG & PG in any discipline

Permanent/contractual technical staff

Independent innovators, scientists, and prospective entrepreneurs (BBA/MBA etc. Graduates) from across science, engineering, management, and technology schools/departments

Who are the potential beneficiaries of the BIG scheme?

Faculty /lecturers who plan to commercialise their research work through a startup. Institutional FEP should be in place.

Scientists/researcher scholars (Post Doc, RA's, PhD's) / technical staff who would like to escalate Innovation development to higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL).

Independent Inventors with filed and approved patents that are pending monetisation

Alumni and current students of science, medicine and engineering disciplines

Post Graduate - Final semester MPhil / MSc / M.Tech / M Pharma / MD / M Des ; MPH /MBA / MSW etc. and equivalents with undergraduate training in Science, Medicine, Engineering.

Under Graduate (4 year programs) : Final semester B.Tech / B Pharm ; / MBBS / BDS

Retired academics, industry professionals can also be PI.

Can I apply if I am a UG / PG student?

Students who are in a 4 year UG, masters and are about to graduate within the next 3-6 months can apply.

They should have NoC from HoD / Alma mater.

They can also team up with any graduated senior who can commit full-time engagement with the project for 18 months.

Where to obtain letter of intent

Write to the incubator where you intend to incubate.

For SIIC IIT Kanpur write to [email protected]

Can I apply if I am a faculty/scientist/research scholar?

Yes; obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your institute.

Research scholars who are about to finish their fellowship in 6 months can apply.

Is there any limit on number of projects to be submitted?

No; but only one project will be eventually funded.

What are the broad themes for research proposals

The applicants can submit research proposals broadly focussed on any of the following areas:

1. Medical Biotechnology -

  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • Medical Devices & Bioelectronics Instrumentation
  • Biocompatible materials for implants
  • Biomechanical prosthesis - Robotics & Automation

2. Plant, Animal, Marine Biotechnology

3. Agri-Tech: Pre and Post-harvesting Agromachinary, sensing devices and instruments etc. for agriculture

4. Environmental Engineering / Biotechnology

5. Industrial Biotechnology -

  • Biochemical engineering
  • Bioprocess (Fermentation) Technology
  • Down Stream Processing

6. Bioinformatics and Bio-IT interface -

  • IoT Sensors
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Cloud Computing
  • Deep Bio ML / AI
What is the evaluation criteria for short listing the applications?

The applications will be broadly evaluated for the technology, execution capability, the potential impact of the technology, and business plan.

The score distribution is as follows:

  • 20 - Unmet need address by the proposed research
  • 20 - Value Proposition/Differentiation
  • 30 - Technical Viability
  • 15 - Team Strength/Passion
  • 15 - Business Perspective
What is the frequency of call for applications?

BIG applications seek proposals twice a year i.e., Jan-Mid Feb and July-Mid August.

Does the idea have to be absolutely novel?

Yes, it should be novel at least in India with no patents covering in part / whole technology to be indigenously developed.

The BIG Scheme encourages a high level of innovation. Nonetheless. existing ideas can be developed but should have a potential for commercial application or should address an unmet national need.

Should I have a guide/mentor?

A guide or mentor with a technical and/or business expertise in the domain area of the technology is preferred but not compulsory.

Individual applicants are encouraged to apply with a Guide/Mentor.

Is the duration of the project extendible?

No. The project has to finish in 18 months.

Incubation / Big Partner-Related FAQs

What are the roles & responsibilities of a BIG partner?

SIIC IIT Kanpur is authorized to sign an Agreement with the BIG Innovators on behalf of BIRAC as BIG partner. Under this agreement, its roles and responsibilities include To receive online applications on behalf of BIRAC

Screen BIG applications for eligibility and fit into the scheme Carry out Technical Review of eligible applications through Subject Experts (Reviewers) with relevant background and expertise. Shortlist proposals for presentation in front of the Technical Expert Panel (TEP).

Conduct technical & financial due diligence of the applicants finally shortlisted by the ESC.

Monitor the targeted milestones and disburse the funds accordingly to the selected BIG Innovator.

Provide mentorship and handholding for activities related to IP management, legal and contract, mobilizing resources and other business development related activities to all recipients of Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG innovators/grantees).

Organize workshops/seminars/mentoring sessions for the BIG Innovators.

Provide a platform for interaction with Senior/ Subject Experts and other academic partners.

Who is an Incubatee?

Incubatee, in this context, is the main applicant (Project coordinator in case of individual application and startup in case of company application).

What is Incubator and BIG Partner and their relationship?

An incubator is any institutionally demarcated space that has the required lab infrastructure and soft infrastructure to support your proposed BIG work. Recognition DST NSTEDB, BIRAC, State Startup Mission, and similar government bodies will provide authenticity to its work.

BIG Partners are the institutes appointed by BIRAC to facilitate the BIG application process. SIIC IIT Kanpur is one of the BIG partners

What services will I receive from the BIG Partner that I choose to apply through?

A BIG partner helps you with preparing your BIG grant application, preparing your BIG presentation, connects you with business/technical mentor absolutely free of cost.

If my project is selected for funding what do I owe to my BIG partner?

Your success is our success. If your project is selected for the BIG grant, we request you to get incubated physically at SIIC IIT Kanpur and make the most of the 600 Cr + infrastructure of IIT-K and its vast industrial, investor networks.

If relocation is not feasible then a virtual incubation is also possible.

A great written, video testimonial giving a strong recommendation of SIIC in your networks is a great way to help us expand our reach and further attract potential talent for future BIG cohorts.

BIG partner's job is to maximize your probability of success. They receive financial assistance from BIRAC to extend you these services.

Can my BIG Partner be my incubator?

Yes, but It is not mandatory.

The chosen BIG partners have sophisticated labs to support the execution of your proposed project.

Do all BIG partners have identical Terms and Conditions for incubation?

No. It varies from partner to partner.

SIIC IIT Kanpur is the only incubator in the country which offers innovators and entrepreneurs access to all the institutional infrastructure at IIT Kanpur due to the hosts most liberal innovation policy.

Is the information provided by me kept

Yes. The BIG partner itself is in a CDA with funding agency BIRAC.

All the online reviewers and expert members of evaluation panels sign a non-disclosure agreement and no conflict agreement before viewing the proposals.

Can my institute be the Incubator? What are the criteria to become a Technology Business Incubator?

Yes if the Institute has dedicated space and resources exclusively for the purposes of technology incubation, it can become a TBI.

The Incubators should have a legal status i.e should be either a registered society or a registered trust or a registered company (usually u/s 25).

Alternatively Institute proposing to be Incubators; -Should have a program for incubation (e.g. a dedicated facility) in place to incubate BIG Innovators. -Should have an agreement in place with the BIG Innovator/Incubatee.

An ad-hoc incubation by Institute is not encouraged.