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Evolution of Biotechnology in India: Historic and Epistemic Trajectories

Fri, August 31, 11:00am to 12:30pm, ICC, C2.6


By mid of the twentieth century, various parts of the world, especially Europe and America had already picked biotechnology researches as one of the major focus areas. Until 1963, India did not have any formal research and training program in biotechnology. Biotechnology researches and training usually were a part of disciplines like chemical engineering, agricultural sciences, and microbiology. A handful of Indian scientists trained in the ‘west’, took the initiative to start formal training and research in biotechnology. Within a few years, this new interdisciplinary branch established itself as a new discipline.
Analysing historical and ethnographic work on the development of biotechnology in India, this paper would be focusing on the role of individual actors, institutions, government policies, socio-political urgencies in the region, international partnerships and key events like conferences and seminars that have played a role in shaping the trajectory of the discipline in India.
From the techno-science perspective, new knowledge generation is a dialectical process between technology and science. The trajectory of the discipline would depend on the historical interplay between technology and science as both of them shape each other. In conjunction, besides exploring the history, this paper would also focus on the technological aspect shaping the discipline. Enquiring into the relation between the epistemic trajectory of the discipline and the (western) location of technology transfer and knowledge dissemination, would aid a constructive reflection on continuities and discontinuities of the discipline from the ‘west’.