Academic research should encompass social, industrial issues

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Academic research should focus more on social and industrial issues. All the countries whose research, academia and science are linked to industry, developed rapidly.

These views were expressed by the Vice Chancel-lors, businessmen, participants in the “University-Industry Linkages Round Table Session held here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Saturday.

President LCCI Mian Nauman Kabir delivered the welcome address while Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, former President Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman, Executive Director of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Shaista Sohail, Member HEC Dr. Akram Sheikh was on Zoom, Vice Chan-cellor University of Engineering and Technology Dr. Syed Mansoor Sarwar, Vice Chancellor, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Dr. Naseem Ahmed, Vice Chancellor University of Education Dr. Talat Naseer Pasha, Vice Chancellor Lahore Garrison University, General Shehzad Sikandar, Vice Chancellor Qarshi University, Abdul Rashid Lone, Director ORICk FCC University Dr. Kausar A. Malik, Convenor of the Lahore Chamber’s Standing Committee on Industry Academia Linkage Dr. Shahid Raza, participants from different sectors, members of Executive Committee of Lahore Chamber also addressed.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that the objective of organizing this round-table is to align Higher Education Com-mission with the future needs of industry. “We be-lieve that strong industry academia linkage is the most important tool to tackle the key economic challenges of Pakistan. We have seen that the coun-tries with effective industry academia linkage have higher productivity and competitive economies.”

He said that Pakistan still need to fully realize the fruits of developing such linkages. A number of countries are working on formalizing diverse approaches to connect the university industry links with overall national policy framework in order to set up a conducive environment for research and innovation. “We just need to emulate their footsteps,” he added.

Nauman Kabir said that the industry-academia link-age is imperative for the innovation and growth of the country. It can save expensive foreign exchange by substituting imports and reducing the import bill. It promises greater employment opportunities for the youth as well, he said, adding that the universities should also function as an entrepreneurial hub to engage directly in economic development through enterprise spin off. LCCI realizes its role as a catalyst to facilitate industry and academia to interact for the promotion of businesses well supported with applied research work.

LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that the HEC has been provided funding to further strengthen and align the future research projects proposed by private sector to solve industry related problems in order to move forward with the aim of developing knowledge economy.

Executive Director, Higher Education Commission, Dr. Shaista Sohail said that HEC spends Rs. 140 billion on research and in the last two decades, the number of publications has increased from hundreds to 33,000. She said that Pakistan’s Human Development Index, Global Development Rankings have improved and the number of PhDs in the country has multiplied.

Participants of the session said that we need to focus on the skills that are in demand in the market. They asked the industry to state its demands so that the direction of research can be determined. Pakistan has to boost the knowledge economy, they said, adding that the industry and academia linkage would benefit both the sectors.

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