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Industry veteran Nadir Godrej and Mahyco join hands with Ignite Life Science Foundation to fund sustainable agriculture research


Grant to support research on environmentally sustainable, cost-effective alternatives to nitrogenous fertilizers.

Bengaluru, 7th March 2023Ignite Life Science Foundation (ILSF), a Bengaluru-based not-for-profit enterprise that aims to leverage scientific discoveries for social benefit, received a grant from industry veteran Nadir Godrej and Mahyco Pvt. Ltd. to expand into plant and agricultural research. ILSF is looking to expand its science funding portfolio with the help of donors.

The need of the hour is to address an increase in crop productivity in natural and sustainable ways. It is also important to address the problem of depletion of organic carbon and identify measures to restore soil health and, possibly, develop new inoculants to remedy the nutrient depletion problem.

Nadir Godrej, Chairman of Godrej Agrovet, and Managing Director of Godrej Industries, said, “Protein shortage is a major problem and producing plant-based proteins at a lower cost is essential. With high energy prices, the cost of producing nitrogenous fertiliser has risen. I support this research because it would be ideal if agriculture could reduce its dependence on nitrogenous fertilizers.”

Though nitrogen is an abundant atmospheric gas, it must be ‘fixed’ in a form that plants can use. Synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers are used as such a source to increase agricultural yields. However, they are expensive and bad for the environment.

Dr K K Narayanan, Scientific Advisor to the Ignite Life Science Foundation, noted, “Modern agriculture is faced with an ever-growing demand for nitrogenous fertilizers. Given that these are unsustainable, especially in the face of climate change, the Ignite grants for agriculture research are designed to promote the development of climate-friendly alternatives.”

Dr Bharat Char, Chief Science Officer, Mahyco Pvt. Ltd., said, “Nitrogen fertilisers are essential for agriculture, but their use degrades the environment. Finding sustainable replacements for synthetic fertilisers would be of great utility for the future of farming. Basic research is the bedrock of innovation. Through this initiative, Ignite Life Science Foundation, with our support, is playing a critical role in allowing the best minds in the field to invent real-world solutions for this problem.

Professor Ramaswamy Subramanian, Co-founder of Ignite Life Science Foundation concurred, “Betting on good science is the best investment one can make for a healthier and better future. Ignite Life Science Foundation is expanding its science funding portfolio with the help of our donors. The commitment from donors, like Mr Nadir Godrej and Mahyco, has helped us expand into plant and agricultural research. I thank them and look forward to continued support from them and hope more donors will join in this important mission.”


Ignite Life Science Foundation (ILSF), a Section 8 not-for-profit foundation, was launched on January 15, 2020, by Nobel Laureate Dr. Venki Ramakrishnan. Ignite’s purpose is to promote a vibrant ecosystem for scientific research in India by working with the stakeholder community, including philanthropists, scientists, policy makers in the Government and the beneficiaries of the outcomes of scientific research.

Ignite uses a highly selective curatorial approach to screen projects and scientists for funding. Scientists are supported through the lifecycle of the project through mentorship and access to networking opportunities through the wider network of scientists accessible through ILSF. Ignite selects program areas that target a specific India-relevant problem. A multidisciplinary approach towards solving problems and collaborations between scientists at different institutions is actively encouraged.

ILSF is promoted by eminent scientists, academicians and management professionals, including Professor Pankaj Chandra (Vice Chancellor, Ahmedabad University), Professor Ramaswamy Subramanian (Director, Bindley Bioscience Center, Purdue University), Professor Jyotsna Dhawan, (Emeritus Scientist, CCMB-Hyderabad), Professor Gagandeep Kang (Wellcome Trust Laboratory – CMC, Vellore), Professor Shahid Jameel (Oxford University), Dr Jogin Desai (CEO, Eyestem), Dr Anand Anandkumar (CEO, Bugworks) and K Jayshankar (MD, Empowered Learning Systems). Dr. Swami Subramaniam is the Chief Executive Officer of ILSF.

About Mahyco Private Limited

Mahyco Private Limited is focused on research and development, production, processing, and marketing of seeds for India’s farming fraternity. Founded in 1964, Mahyco is the pioneer of high-quality hybrid and open pollinated seeds. Through the use of cutting-edge technology and intensive research activities, Mahyco has revolutionized the agrarian face of the country.

About Mr Nadir B. Godrej

Mr Nadir B. Godrej is the Managing Director of Godrej Industries Ltd. and the Chairman of Godrej Agrovet Ltd. Mr Godrej is deeply committed to the Good and Green strategies and achievement of set targets for the Godrej Group. He encourages and supports a shared vision value for all programs of Good and Green.

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