HEC shares revamped R&D Framework with researchers

Bureau Report 

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has launched a roadshow to spread awareness among the faculty members and researchers about the newly-developed Research and Development (R&D) Framework.

In this regard, the first event was organized at the HEC Secretariat, which was attended by over 150 faculty members and researchers of different universities of the twin cities – Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The roadshow, which will now move to Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta in the next few weeks, aiming at educating academics and researchers about various components of the framework, motivate them to obtain maximum benefit from various funding opportunities, and provide them advice and guidance to apply for different grants.

The main programmes of the framework include Grand Challenge Fund (GCF), Local Challenge Fund (LCF), National Research Programme for Universities (NRPU), Innovative and Collaborative Research Grant (ICRG) and Technology Transfer Support Fund (TTSF).

Speaking during the inaugural session, Dr Zain ul Abdin, Director General (R&D) informed the audience that the HEC was playing a pivotal role for the promotion of academics as well as applied research culture in the higher education institutions to address the significant societal issues and boost international compatible research for a sustainable and progressive research ecosystem in the country. He said that academic research was a key element for higher education sector’s growth, knowledge creation and building strategic partnerships.

“In a middle income country like Pakistan, innovative and highly skilled researchers are an asset and we at the HEC want to indulge all the researchers in the newly launched programmes through a competitive process,” Dr Zain stated, also informed the audience that a rigorous and transparent peer-review evaluation mechanism involving foreign evaluators, external reviews and review panels was being developed to overrule any chances of biasness or concerns based on conflict of interest while awarding grants.

Dr Graham M Harrison, World Bank’s Senior Science and Technology Specialist, briefed the audience about funding aspects through World Bank. Sarah Pervez, British Council’s representative shared her thoughts regarding improvement of Pakistani universities through Pakistan-UK Education Gateway. She said that through this programme, capacity of Pakistani researchers would be improved by working with partners from the UK and other parts of the world.

Speakers from the R&D division shared the details of different components of the new R&D Framework and later a tutorial session focusing on research culture, finding international research funding opportunities, and writing good grant applications was delivered by Dr Fouzia Sadiq, Director Research at Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad.

The academics and researchers applauded the activity and were of the view that these sessions had provided them an opportunity of networking with other scholars and researchers, and had provided an insight about new initiatives of the HEC to resolve national level issues of strategic relevance towards society and industry.

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