By Paras Ali

ISLAMABAD: International collaboration is a must for research and development of any country and Pakistan should avail all opportunities in this regard by seeking strengthened cooperation from other states.

“We should not be disheartened that only one-year has been left to conclusion of EUs 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013).  The FP8 titled “Horizon Twenty-Twenty” is ahead and Pakistani Rand D organizations can fully benefit by availing the opportunity of funding under the programme,” said Federal Secretary for Science and Technology Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar while addressing the one-day International Pak-European Union Seminar on “EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) here at a local hotel last week.

Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with the European Commission delegation at Islamabad organized the seminar.

The seminar was attended by Vice Chancellors of the universities across Pakistan, heads of RandD organizations, representatives of various UN agencies, international organizations, NGOs and Chambers of Commerce and Industry to get familiarized with the EU research projects funding process.

Tarar also talked about the TRTA Programme of collaboration between EU and Pakistan. He said that said, “let us resolve today that we will go informed about EU funding process and we will work in unison.”

Addressing the seminar, European Unions Acting Ambassador to Pakistan Pierre Mayaudon explained the FP7. He said that EU is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its diplomatic relations with Pakistan, however, strengthening of cooperation in the field of science and technology is yet to be made.

He further said that FP7 is not all about the cooperation in the field of SandT as it covers many other areas as well.

Mayaudon was of the view that there is no lack of capabilities in Pakistan and response from participants of this seminar by submitting their research proposals for funding will confirm it.

“The FP7 is not the end but the beginning of collaboration between Pakistani and EU researchers as FP7 will be followed by FP8 “Horizon Twenty-Twenty” Programme that would result in enhancing the collaboration,” he maintained.

He said that Secretary SandT Akhlaq Tarar and PSF Chairman Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro deserve our sincere gratitude for organizing this event that would lead to enhanced Pak-EU collaboration.

Earlier addressing the inaugural ceremony, the PSF Chairman said that Pakistani scientists and researchers ranked 4th among most intelligent people in the world and they did wonders when they worked abroad in environment having good research facilities.

Explaining the about the PSF and its activities, Soomro said that the Foundation, as an autonomous body working under the umbrella of Ministry of Science and Technology, was established in 1973 with an aim to promote and finance scientific activities for research in the universities and other public and private organizations in the country.

Philippe de Taxis du Poet, an expert from European Commission, said that internationally the EU is one of the major funding bodies to support numerous programmes and initiatives for research and innovation in both the developed and developing countries.

He said that FP7 with over billions of Euros budget, reflects all aspects of EU research policy. He also talked about concept and philosophy of FP7. He said science and technology is a driving force for development and human curiosity is driving force of SandT, which is centre to our strategy of competitiveness in jobs, development.

The technical session of the seminar was chaired by Dr. Sohail H. Naqvi, HEC Executive Director, Islamabad. In this session project directors of existing EU funded projects shared their experiences with the participants.

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