‘Varsities can multiply budgets through research commercialisation’

Published November 16, 2022
A solar car displayed at the All Punjab Universities Innovation Expo at a local hotel. — White Star
A solar car displayed at the All Punjab Universities Innovation Expo at a local hotel. — White Star

LAHORE: Participants in All Punjab Universities Innovation Expo-2022 were of the view that industry-academia linkage could multiply the budget of universities through the commercialisation of their research output and solution-oriented consultancy services to the government in various projects.

Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) and other public sector universities of the province jointly organised the expo at Faletti’s Hotel on Tuesday. As many as 259 projects from 37 public and private sector universities across Punjab were put on display.

The projects were placed in eight categories encompassing social sciences, business, economics, engineering, technology and emerging sciences, computer and information technology, agriculture, health, and medicine.

PHEC Chairperson Prof Dr Shahid Munir said 54 per cent population of the country was under 30 and there was a need to tap their creativity.

He said industry experts should be included on the boards of studies of the universities to design their curriculum congruent with the needs of the local market and it would minimise the gap between industry and academia.

He said the World Economic Forum had listed the future trends for socio-economic development and innovation, technology and digitalisation were atop amongst those. “It is high time to integrate these trends into our curriculum to produce a skilled human resource that enables us to match the pace of global economic development,” he stressed.

He said the expo was providing an opportunity to the universities for showcasing their talent, innovations and research productivity of their students and faculty and to get their potential harnessed.

Dr Munir said the one-page synopsis of the displayed projects in the expo would be shared with the local industry to boost the commercialisation potential.

He said the exhibitions of research projects would be held regularly in future and as many as 700 entries were received from universities and 259 quality projects were shortlisted for the expo. “We want the industry to be a part of the expo and universities are determined to increase the projects up to 500 for the next year,” he said.

Higher Education Department (HED) Secretary Ahmad Raza Sarwar emphasised improving the quality of higher education and said universities were not meant for providing jobs but to create knowledge. “Universities need to ease the creation of knowledge through emphasising attainment of core technical skills and cultivating opportunities for students to express their ideas,” he said.

He said the universities should multiply their budget through the commercialisation of their research output and solution-oriented consultancy services to the government in various projects.

Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Kashif Anwar emphasised strengthening industry and agriculture for the country’s development.He said the need for modern technology and machinery increased due to the ban on imports and universities could fill this void by offering alternative technological solutions for the industry.

Chief Minister Task Force on Higher Education Chairman Mian Imran Masood, former chairperson Dr. Nizamuddin, and Dr. Fazal Ahmad Khalid also expressed their views on higher education.

Seminars on higher education and innovation were also organised on the sidelines where the speakers emphasised the exigency of serious steps towards improving the standards of higher education and put forward their suggestions.

Later, the best two projects in each of the eight categories were awarded a cash prize of Rs150,000 each respectively.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2022

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