Distinguished experts at the 9th Invention to Innovation Summit have emphasized the vital necessity of collaborative efforts among the government, industry, and academia not only to extricate the country from its current challenges but also to propel Pakistan towards becoming a developed nation. Speaking at the inaugural session of the summit organized by Punjab University’s (PU) Office of Research, Innovation, and Commercialization (ORIC) after a hiatus of five years, prominent figures including Chairman of Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC), Prof. Dr. Shahid Munir, Chairman of Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Muhammad Akram Sheikh, Chief Advisor of University of Management and Technology (UMT), Abid K. Sherwani, and ORIC Director, Prof. Dr. Shakil Ahmed, along with researchers, industry experts, faculty members, and a significant number of students, convened to address the pressing need for innovation-driven progress.

In his keynote address, Prof. Dr. Shahid Munir underscored the pivotal role of educational institutions in fostering innovation, highlighting that nations leading in innovation are dominating the global landscape. He lamented Pakistan’s current standing at 88th among 190 countries in terms of innovation, attributing this lag to inadequate investment in education and research, with Pakistan currently allocating a mere 0.24% of its GDP to research and development. Dr. Munir emphasized the imperative for educational institutions to align their innovations with industry demands, citing examples of companies founded by MIT graduates contributing significantly to the world economy. He stressed the crucial role universities play in propelling Pakistan forward and advocated for instilling entrepreneurial spirit among students while emphasizing the significance of applied research for economic development. Dr. Munir also highlighted the efforts of Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) in formulating policies to promote intellectual property and research commercialization.

Echoing Dr. Munir’s sentiments, Dr. Khalid Mahmood emphasized the indispensability of collaboration among academia, industry, and the public sector for national development, noting the active participation of industry and government representatives in the summit. He lauded the collaborative initiatives between Punjab University and various industries, including the establishment of Lahore Chamber of Commerce’s office within Hailey College of Commerce. Dr. Mahmood commended the revival of the summit series after a hiatus of five years, attributing the success to the commendable efforts of Dr. Shakil and his team.

Dr. Akram Sheikh praised Prof. Dr. Khalid Mahmood for reviving the summit and highlighted the platform it provides for students to showcase their innovative ideas. He emphasized the importance of practical training in educational institutions and advocated for fostering creative thinking over rote learning. Abid K. Sherwani outlined the summit’s objective of disseminating research conducted in institutes to a global audience, emphasizing Pakistan’s abundant natural and human resources and the necessity for their optimal utilization. He expressed concerns over Pakistan’s failure to provide education to millions of children and its reliance on imports despite being an agricultural country.

Prof. Dr. Shakil Ahmed elucidated ORIC’s mission to nurture a research-oriented culture in universities, highlighting the opportunities provided by the summit for scientists, experts, and students to showcase their work. The event culminated with participants visiting and commending the stalls exhibiting products based on cutting-edge research conducted by various industries and academic institutions in Pakistan.

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