Union Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal has announced 20 more biotech parks will be set up throughout the country for promoting research in the field of life sciences. “Setting up of new biotech parks is one of our initiatives for promoting quality research in biotechnology and its applied fields,” he said in his address at the inaugural function of the Biotech Park here. At present, besides Lucknow, there are only three “functional” biotech parks at Hyderabad, Pune and in Punjab. Sibal also announced that in order to produce “high quality human resource”, an agreement would be signed with the Welcome Trust of Britain. “The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will form a 10-year pact with the Welcome Trust for ensuring high quality human resource, which is one of the key elements for scientific leadership,” he said. The minister also said a regional UNESCO centre would come up in Faridabad in Haryana to help bring academia, industrialists and government officials on a common platform for promoting utility-based research. Expressing concern over the shortage of the number and quality of human resource needed to take the biotechnology revolution forward, Sibal called the scientists to undertake research projects for countering diseases that are considered a “burden for the poor”, food security, new varieties of crops, vaccines, and to mitigate industrial pollution. He assured the state government that his ministry would seriously consider its proposal to set up five science parks and five agrotech parks in the state and invited the state science and technology minister Abdul Manan to New Delhi for talks. Although set up in 2002, the Lucknow Biotech Park was officially inaugurated on Sunday. Spread over eight acres, the park is a joint venture of the central and the state governments, with assistance from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, and some other educational institutions and industries.