United States pledges support for science and technology sector


ISLAMABAD, The sectoral meeting on Science & Technology of the Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue has stressed the need for establihsment of centres of excellence, transfer of technology at the regional levels, sharing and promoting successful S&T models between Pakistan and the US for socio-economic uplift of the people.

The meeting was held here, Co-Chaired by Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology K.B. Rind and Executive Director Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The US side was led by Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary, US Department of State Dr. Javaid R. Laghari, Chairman, HEC was also present.

The idea behind the Pak-US Science and Technology Cooperative Programme is to bring entrepreneurship and innovation in R&D and make it relevant to the socio-economic development of the country. The meeting was followed by a display showcasing Pak-US collaborative research projects.

This programme is a joint effort of the Governments of Pakistan and the US under the Pak-US Agreement of Science and Technology signed in 2003 and its major aim is to share the benefits of research in different fields of science and technology through mutual cooperation in S&T organizations as well as universities in both the countries.

The programme has improved the capacity of Pakistan’s public and private sector universities and GoP S&T organizations to support industry competitiveness.

Speaking on the occasion of Showcasing of Joint R&D projects Dr. Javed R. Laghari said that the collaboration in S&T is only the first step towards the long way ahead before benefit of this research trickle down to the people, and the 31 projects undertaken by Pakistani universities and R&D organizations with US partners to improve the quality, relevance or capacity of education and research.

The ongoing projects in the fields of water, agriculture, biotechnology range from the development of strategic model for improvement of Construction Project Management Education,

Research and Practice in Pakistan, Capacity Building for Research, Education and Training in Water Resources Management in Pakistan, Nano-medicine for Cancer Research, Building Molecular Biology Capacity for Preventing Tick Transmitted Diseases, Hepatitis C Virus Management in Pakistan, Bioremediation of Chromium and Arsenic from Industrial Wastewater, Enhance the Sugarcane Production in Pakistan by Modern Breeding Technology, and Capacity Building of Lady Health Workers in Rural Mardan, Khyber PakhtoonKhwa through Use of ICT based Telemedicine to mention only a few.

Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones said that these joint projects are proof of the rich partnership between the two countries. She said that discussions during her current visit have been very productive.
“We can do much more together and explore new ideas to work on,” she added. Each and every project under this programme is relevant to the socio-economic challenges of Pakistan, and the research conducted has an ultimate impact on the lives of the ordinary citizens,” she added.

K.B. Rind said that the selected projects of R&D will focus on cost-effective measures that ensure advantages of the competition to producers and consumers alike through quality products and economical prices.

“We cannot afford to limit the benefits of innovations to laboratories alone, our joint efforts should be focusing on redressing the problem of the common people and to enhance good-will among people of the two countries” he said.

In 2005, the USAID joined with MoST and HEC to support the joint Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Programme.
This amalgamation of intelligence was focused to uplift the country’s research sector. The first, second, third and fourth batches of the Programme were launched in 2005, 2006, 2007 and August 2009, respectively.

The US delegation later took a tour of the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) facilities and the US sponsored health projects entitled “Hepatitis C Virus Management in Pakistan” and “Capacity Building of Lady Health Workers in Rural Mardan”.

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