The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Microsoft Pakistan have announced National University of Sciences and Technology’s team, Flowlines, as the winner of the Imagine Cup 2020 National Finals.     

 NUST team’s idea to use augmented reality to connect it’s users to the physical world outclassed 60 finalist teams from across the country. The Flowlines will now represent Pakistan in the upcoming regional semifinals in Amsterdam, Holland, to compete among global teams for a prize of over US $ 20,000. The top two teams of the semifinals will advance to the 2020 Imagine Cup World Championship.   

 Imagine Cup is a global competition for students over 16 years of age. For nearly two decades, students from around the world have been participating in the Microsoft’s global technology competition, bringing their unique technological solutions to life. Throughout the Imagine Cup competition, Microsoft Pakistan continues to foster innovation among students and enables them to transform their ambitions into reality. The competition witnesses strong participation from Pakistan as well as from the world over.

 For the Imagine Cup 2020, HEC and Microsoft Pakistan reached out to more than 100 campuses this year through multiple outreach campaigns in a bid to create awareness about the competition and effectively market it to the audience. This effort resulted in record breaking project entries, i.e., more than 600, in this competition.

 Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar visited stalls setup by the participating teams, displaying their projects, at Pak-China Friendship Center. He appreciated participating students for their innovative project ideas. He said the ideas generated by the students, especially on climate change and waste management, are brilliant and need to be marketed.

 “The Government is committed to the well-being of Pakistani youth, as it considers them a national asset. Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched the Kamyab Jawan Program to provide the youth with opportunities to excel in their respective fields. The program includes various important schemes, including Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, Start-up Pakistan Program and National Internship Program. These schemes will enable a healthy social and economic engagement of Pakistani youth,” said Dar.

 Talking to participants of the competition, Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri said Imagine Cup is all about innovation, transformation and what comes next. He observed that Imagine Cup continues to cultivate a spirit of social and technological entrepreneurship, empowering students to use their creativity to address real societal problems through technology.

 “We have seen extremely innovative ideas coming in and many of the students, who have been participating in competitions like the Imagine Cup, have established their own start-ups which are now becoming multi-million dollar companies.” He hoped that the national final winner team will bring laurels to Pakistan.

 Senior Education Director for Microsoft Middle East and Africa Harb Bou-Harb said Microsoft strives to bring the right set of tools and technology to students to expose them to the skills required for the future of work. 

 Imagine Cup is one of Microsoft’s efforts to transform skill development, nurture budding technologists and foster collaborative and innovative spirit. This global technology competition is characterized by several success stories, as it is a great platform to innovate, get recognized and eventually get enabled to bring about a positive change.

 Pakistan ranks as the top country in the world with the highest number of project submissions and competitors in the Imagine Cup. Students were initially evaluated in regional finals held in different cities, while the best teams competed in the national finals.

 Country Manager Microsoft Pakistan Shahzad Khan said, “The talent we have in Pakistan is phenomenal and competitions like Imagine Cup only help highlight this raw talent and give them a platform to reach the global community.” He stressed the need for focusing on producing skillful, technically enabled and certified graduates to meet the global market needs for engineering talent. 

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