Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has launched a roadshow to spread awareness among faculty members and researchers about the newly developed Research and Development (R&D) framework.

In this regard, the first event was organized at HEC Secretariat in Islamabad, which was attended by over 150 faculty members and researchers of various universities of the twin cities.

The roadshow, which will now move to Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta in the next few weeks, is aiming at educating academics and researchers about various components of the framework, motivating them to obtain maximum benefit from various funding opportunities, and providing them advice and guidance to apply for various 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 at the inaugural session, HEC Director General (R&D) Dr Zain ul Abdin said HEC was playing a pivotal role to promote academic 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 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 HEC want to indulge all the researchers in the newly launched programmes through a competitive process.”

Dr Abdin 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.

World Bank Senior Science and Technology Specialist Dr Graham M Harrison briefed the audience about funding aspects through World Bank.

British Council Representative Sarah Pervez shared her thoughts regarding improvement of Pakistani universities through Pakistan-UK Education Gateway. She said through this programme, capacity of Pakistani researchers would be improved by working with partners from UK and other parts of the world.

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

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

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