Biotechnology activity at IIT Kharagpur was formally initiated in 1986 with the introduction of an M. Tech. course on Biotechnology and Engineering. The program was excellent in the spheres of teaching /training and research. The wide appreciation of the program in the country and abroad led to introduction of an undergraduate course in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering in 1994 under Chemical Engineering Department. The Department of Biotechnology was established in 1999 to run the UG program and M. Tech. programs independently.
Presently, the Department is running one 4-Years B. Tech, (Hons), 5-Years dual degree (B. Tech and M. Tech), 2-Years M. Tech and Ph. D program in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering.
Overall, currently there are about 250 undergraduate, 40 postgraduate and 85 doctoral students as well as 10 postdoctoral fellows working in various fields of research encompassed by two major thrust areas namely, healthcare biotechnology and bio-energy. Specifically, there are 14 faculty members conducting research under 13 different subject areas namely, Antimicrobial chemotherapy, Bioenergy, Bioinformatics, Biomaterials and tissue engineering, Bioprocess and Bioseparation Technology, Environmental Biotechnology and Metagenomics, Genomics and Proteomics, Marine Biotechnology, Molecular biology, Genetics and Recombinant DNA Technology, Molecular microbiology, Immunotechnology, Plant tissue culture, Metabolomics and transgenic technology, Structural Biology and Systems Biology.