Mother and child health were the main focus of the winners of the 'All Children Thriving' grants under the Grand Challenges India initiative. The winners were on Tuesday awarded certificates for their innovations.
The awards were given by K. Vijay Raghavan, secretary in the department of biotechnology under the central government.
The Grand Challenges India initiative was jointly launched by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council under the department, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013 to promote innovative health and development research within India, exclusively for Indian researchers.
"Stimulating an atmosphere of research is one of the major instruments to tackle the problems plaguing the country... we aim to create a conducive 'innovation ecosystem' in the country to encourage creativity and inventiveness among young researchers," Raghavan said.
The 'All Children Thriving' grants aim to develop multi-sectoral interventions that can reduce the burden of preterm birth, stunted postnatal growth, and impaired cognitive development.
Arindam Maitra, associate professor at the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in Kalyani in West Bengal, who was one of the winners, said: "We are part of a larger program which is ongoing to identify the biological underpinnings of preterm birth."
"The present study that we've proposed is rooted in this larger program that we are working on. We are working on sustained stress during pregnancy of the mother that results in enhanced risk of preterm birth."
"We have proposed to develop a method by which we can detect those mothers who are under stress and because of which have a higher risk for preterm delivery. The original study is on 8,000 pregnant woman."
Uma Chandra Mouli Natchu, assistant professor at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute in Faridabad, said: "My research will be on 200 infants at Gurgaon civil hospital. This research can help us find out which child is at the risk of being short."
"The second step will be at looking at interventions, in form of drugs, to reduce inflammations that happen in the body so that his linear growth is not affected."