Government Announces Cash Prizes for Asian Games Winners and Establishes Microbiome Excellence Center

The recent cabinet meeting in Kerala unveiled a series of decisions, including cash awards for medal-winning athletes from the state at the Asian Games. Gold medal recipients will receive Rs 25 lakh, silver medalists Rs 19 lakh, and bronze medal winners Rs 12.5 lakh.

Additionally, the government has sanctioned the establishment of a Center of Excellence in Microbiome within the state. This center, to be created in collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology under the Kerala Science, Technology, and Environment Council, aims to explore the emerging field of microbiome research. This area of science delves into the complex interactions of microorganisms coexisting in the same environment.

Dr. Sabu Thomas, a retired professional from the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology, will serve as the first director on a contractual basis for three years. The Microbiome Center will focus on various aspects of microbiome research, encompassing human, animal, plant, aquatic, environmental microbiomes, and data labs. Notably, the study of microbiomes becomes even more critical in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to develop innovative diagnostic and interventional techniques across multiple scientific disciplines.

Moreover, the Microbiome Center aspires to become a global hub for interdisciplinary research, cross-domain collaboration, and innovative product development, emphasizing the significance of microbiota in holistic health systems. The center will leverage advanced technologies like IoT and data analytics for spatio-temporal mapping of microbiomes and create a genomic database for further research on microbial interactions. While initial research will take place at a facility in Kinfra Park, Thiruvananthapuram, the center’s operations will eventually transition to a new facility in Thonnakkal Life Science Park.

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