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What is Biotechnology? Scope and Career Opportunities

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Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary branch of science which is popular among youngsters as it is providing ample opportunities for those who want to explore the new and modern frontiers of science. It does not refer to a specific industry or job. The applications of Biotechnology is vast as it caters to various industrial sectors like food, textiles, pharmaceutical, agriculture, animal husbandry and more.

Biotechnology includes diverse subjects apart from biology making it interdisciplinary. Along with the technical part and engineering applications, biotechnology is giving rise to various new fields with humongous job opportunities.

What is Biotechnology?

As the name suggests, bio-technology is a combination science of biology and technology. It is the use of biological constituents (systems or organisms) to make products useful to the mankind. It is the technology that uses biological systems of produce a product for a specific use. Depending on its applications, biotechnology overlaps fields like bioengineering and others. The advent of biotechnology has expanded into diverse sciences like immunology, virology and other subjects like health, agriculture, cell biology, plant phsiology, seed technology, etc.

Who is a Biotechnologist?

Biotechnologists are those who conduct experiments in private and government laboratories, to modify or manipulate living organisms to develop new products. Biotechnologists can be employed across several industries as biochemists, biophysicists or medical scientists.

As biotechnology commonly translates to genetically modified materials, biotechnologists develop useful products from living systems.

Biotechnologists work within several different industries including agriculture, food manufacturing, health-care and pharmaceuticals.

What is the scope of career in biotechnology?

Scope for biotechnology as a career option is immense as we live in exciting times where there are amazing discoveries, new applications and innovative products on the market every day. There are various organisations that serve as great resources for those who are just entering the field of biotechnology.

Biotechnologists are at the forefront of the continuous search to find new, sustainable food sources. They can work in various work environments like industrial sector, environmental sector, medical sector, food manufacturing, health-care and pharmaceuticals.

Professionals in this field can specialise in one or more subfields like genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics.

Who can study Biotechnology?

Any student with biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics in their class 12 can take up Biotechnology as their specialisation in their undergraduate course. This undergraduate programme in biotechnology can be B.Sc, B.E/B.Tech. The B.Sc programme is 3 years while the B.E/B.Tech programme is for 4 years.

Students interested higher education can go for the master's level in biotech after their undergraduation. Again, master's in biotechnology can be in M.Sc, M.E/M.Tech. A graduate degree in any of the life sciences is acceptable for a PG programme in biotechnology.

Students interested in research and development can continue their studies by pursuing their Ph.D degrees in biotechnology and related fields.

What is Biotechnology?

Job roles for a biotechnologist based on qualification

Entry-level biotechnologist or candidates with a bachelor's degree in biotechnology can work as research technicians. They help out leading research scientists to conduct and monitor experiments and may also record data and prepare reports.

Graduates with a master's degree can expect to work as a lead to a research projects and team. A lab manager or teacher/lecturer.

Candidates at the doctorate and post-doctorate level can work as research scientists, a lab director or as a university lecturer.

Also read: What is Microbiology? Its scope and career opportunities

General Career opportunities for biotechnologists

The domain on which a trained biotechnologist can work is vast. As there are several disciplines involved in biotechnology, there is a great demand for experts in various industries. Biotechnological applications are used widely in the following industries:

  • Healthcare
  • Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Agriculture
  • Animal husbandry
  • Genetic engineering
  • Environmental conservation
  • Soil biology
  • Ecology
  • Textile industry
  • Cosmetics

Biotechnologists can find jobs in both private and government undertakings with specialisations in different sub-disciplines.

Also read: What is Bioinformatics? Scope and Career opportunities

Biotechnologists can work for various organisations/industries under these positions:

  • Medical scientists,
  • Biological technicians
  • Medical and Clinical Lab Technologists & Technicians
  • Biochemists and Biophysicists
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Microbiologists
  • Epidemiologists
  • R&D and Process Development Scientists
  • Biomanufacturing Specialists
  • Bioproduction Operators

Institutes actively involved in biotechnology research in India

1. The Government of India National Biotechnology Board (NBTB)
2. The Department of Science and Technology (DST)
3. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
4. Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR)
5. Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
6. Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR)
7. Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO)
8. Indian Institute of Science (IISC)
9. Biotechnology Consortium of India Ltd (BCIL)

What is the salary range for these professionals?

The renumeration here, depends on your academic qualification and skills like other job profiles.
Fresh graduates can expect a monthly salary in the range of Rs.8,000 to Rs.20,000.

With increase in level of experience, there is abundant scope for getting better salary.

Top colleges in India offering Biotechnology:

  • All the Indian Institute of Technologies
  • Delhi Technological University (DTU)
  • Anna University
  • National Institute of Technology, Warangal
  • Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology
  • Vellore Institute Of Technology, Tamil Nadu
  • Birla Institute of Technology, BIT Mesra
  • National Institute of Technology (NITC)
  • Thapar University

Top Universities abroad offering biotechnology:

  • Columbia University, USA
  • University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Brown University, USA
  • Northwestern University, USA
  • Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • Tufts University, USA
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, USA
  • Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Aston University, UK
  • University of Bristol, UK
  • University of East London, UK
  • University of Aberdeen, UK
  • University of Glasgow, UK
  • Queens Mary, University of London, UK
  • University of Newcastle, UK
  • University of Nottingham, UK
  • University of Warwick, UK
  • University of Leeds, UK
  • Imperial College London, UK

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