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LAHORE: The Punjab Planning and Development Department’s (P&DD) Directorate General Monitoring and Evaluation on Saturday signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) with six public sector universities for provision of technical support, expertise and services of highly qualified and experienced professionals, researchers and teachers to facilitate development process.

Speaking at the ceremony, P&DD Secretary Iftikhar Ali Sahu said the purpose of the MoUs was to convert research into practical application by filling the gap between academia and policy makers in order to create a knowledge-based economy and promote evidence-based policy making approach instead of a presumptive one.

Punjab University Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran said the step taken by the P&DD would help bridge gap between academia and the government.

University of Engineering and Technology Lahore VC Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid was of the view that universities were already engaged with the federal government at different levels. But this initiative would provide a lead to research institutions to get involved at the very elementary level of planning instead of only at the conclusive level when opportunities of corrections remained bleak and not very cost-effective.

University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences VC Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha said this MoU was a win-win situation for both side, while students would get firsthand knowledge of the development process and activities.

University of Agriculture Faisalabad VC Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan commented that 5,000 PhDs in the current year and 20,000 in the years to come would be able to deliver goods and services through this initiative.

Prof Dr Saqib, a representative University of Health Sciences, seconded the idea of the Punjab government and ensured their full support in improving public health policies.

Government College University VC Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah said the idea would help the academia interact with governments on many economic issues.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2016