By Mariam Naseer

THE RELATIVE importance of various drivers of economic growth and prosperity has evolved over time, and, for a growing number of countries, innovation in its many dimensions is emerging as the key factor for development. The term “innovation” means the creation of better or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments and society. Newness in existing or launching of new idea, product can also be taken as innovation. In this modern world, everyday thousands of new ideas are being generated and disseminated for the benefit of economy. Innovation is also becoming trend setter for many products thats why the culture of innovation is getting more importance.

Today, most of the innovations are limited with developed countries like USA, Japan and Europe. The climate in under develop countries are stuck with many problems like poor governance, political instability, lack of funds for research and poor infrastructure. Under develop countries are still at initial phases of exploring and managing innovations. Whatever the reasons may be, we have to find innovative ways in all fields in order to compete with global advancements. According to Innovation Capacity Ranking Index (ICI) Pakistan ranked on 102 positions among a total of 130 countries with a score of 40.8 while India is on 88 positions with a score of 44.2.

Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) in a joint collaboration with IRP and University of the Punjab organized the one-day “Invention to Innovation Summit 2012” at University of Punjab Lahore. Rahela Shahadat, Minister Science and Technology, appreciated the efforts of PSF and pledged to extend every help to PSF.

Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro, PSF Chairman, also highlighted the collaborations PSF has made in past with different Chamber of Commerce and Industries. He emphasized that the strong collaboration between Industry, chamber and RandD organization is pre-requisite to pass on the research results to end users. He explained about other initiatives like Inquiry Based Education to create originality and individuality in the students, so that, their potential could be harnessed by the industry people.

Dr. Mujahid Kamran, Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab has emphasized on providing more financial funds and support to education from different organs of the state. He stated that, if we want to solve our issues 4 per cent of GDP must be allocated for education and RandD. Abid Sherwani, CEO, Institute for Research Promotion (IRP), introduced about the whole event and provided a brief of the activities jointly taken up by PSF and IRP.

Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) also participated in Innovation Summit and displayed posters and brochures of research projects. The projects display was related to nutrient efficient wheat germplasam for rain fed areas, Direct Seeding technology in rice, biological management of root knot nematodes on vegetables, Control Atmosphere Technology for fresh produce, Skin Coating material for fruits and vegetables, phosphoric acid as an alternative to commercial phosphate fertilizers, Hot Water Treatment for post-harvest diseases, clonal propagation of Guava, Olive propagation, Sugarcane plant improvement and Novel approach to generate wide spectrum resistance to all cotton begomoviruses and Vaccine for buffalo and calf diarrhea.

Out of 53 PARBs funded projects, few have completed their research phase and now technology is almost ready for commercialization purpose.

The standardization of the technology in terms of seed operations like soaking and drying, seed rate, number and intensity of irrigation, weedicide control, and variety for DS technology has already been completed at RRI, KSK.

Innovation summit aims to promote culture of innovation and commercialization of research in Pakistan. These events are organized to encourage the industry, academia and scientists for the remarkable work being done. The government should devise ways and means to commercialize such innovative products to large number of stakeholders so that maximum people can get benefit out of it. Government should also collaborate with private sector for this purpose. The scientists should be facilitated to present their work on international platform as their representation will not only be a source of motivation and also a pride of our country as well.

The innovations developed by scientists should be encouraged on macro level and strategies must be devised for its adoption. The extension wing should take steps to commercialize the technology on huge level with the involvement of stakeholders, especially farmers community. The role of Government is prerequisite in order to regulate the system of developing and commercializing innovations in Pakistan. International organizations also introduced such initiatives to promote scientific innovations but negotiations with government and other department makes the process very lengthy and slow. We can part should take part in such programs but not too much rely on continuous basis. We must allocate enough budget for R and D, involved scientist community and give them the responsibility of bringing innovations. Pakistan has to find its own ways in order to bring revolutions by introducing innovations.

PARB welcomed such initiatives that lead towards innovations and wellbeing of the country. The projects funded through PARB are short listed, scrutinized and funded in a well-planned manner as not to waste the nations money and work for the prosperity of stakeholders. The fate of prosperity lies in bringing new innovations and its adoption, while the key of fate is in the hands of government to bring such prosperity. Dont put a lock on this door of prosperity.

The writer is Research Publication Officer, Punjab Agricultural Research Board.

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