Professor David Sampson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research And Innovation At University Of Surrey, UK, Highlighted Crucial Role Of Universities.

By Umer Jamshaid

“The government is keenly aware that long-term growth of the country depends on successful development of national systems of innovation and a mature knowledge economy based on a favourable economic and institutional regime, high-quality human resource development, multi-type innovation driven by science and technology, and promotion and utilisation of advanced information and communications technologies.”

Federal Minister for Science & Technology expressed these views at international webinar on the “Role of S&T Universities in Promoting National High-Tech Growth” at NUST. The minister urged universities to play their part in science and knowledge diplomacy. He further stated that universities were helping shift the focus of the world slowly but gradually from geopolitical competition to knowledge-based cooperation. In today’s world, there is an urgent need to promote peace-enhancing diplomacy rather than diplomacy driven by war and conflict,” he added.

Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, Chairman Prime Minister’s Task Force on Science & Technology, shared his vision for improving the S&T landscape of Pakistan. He said that innovation is transforming economies and a comprehensive S&T-based apparatus is a crucial determinant of long-run growth, competitive edge, and economic autarky of a state. He stated that universities serve as the critical nodes of new growth through their inherent diversity, dynamism and the unmatched ability to introduce new ideas and talent.

Their key performance indicators must be the promotion of policy research and technological evolution of the production function of industry. The process may comprise scientific research, foresight exercises, and networking, combined with the direct and indirect facilitation of new industrial clusters like business and technology incubators, science and technology parks, high technology zones, and innovation areas.

Professor David Sampson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research And Innovation At The University Of Surrey, UK, Highlighted The Crucial Role Of Universities In National Development. While narrating several innovative success stories of past and the achievements of his own institute, he underscored the significance of industry-academia linkages; production, encouragement and cultivation of top talent; emphasis on team work; and rational management of openness and secrecy issue of research. He hoped that Pakistan utilises its vast and raw human resource through greater focus and spending in S&T-based pursuits.

Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Dr Rizwan Riaz, Pro-Rector Research, Innovation and Commercialisation at NUST, stressed the need for leveraging all channels of science and technology for high-tech national growth. Pakistan, in his view, is full of talent that should be nurtured and encouraged through better opportunities. Problems such as brain drain, bureaucratic hurdles, and restricted import of tech-based goods and technologies should be addressed. He also pointed out the responsibility of global north for development of tech- and R&D-based human resource to ensure collective gains.

Dr Malcolm Parry OBE, pointed out that in terms of capacity, the global population of university graduates was expected to nearly double over this decade and reach 300 million by 2030. The levels of global investment in R&D tripled from $676 billion in 2000 to $2.0 trillion in 2018. Although government is a major funder of research in many countries, it tends to be a minor performer in undertaking research. That said, national and international policy decisions sit at the heart of the win-win model for science and technology.

Outputs of the process can be anyways translated into commercial success by stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship among young people that pass through universities and help them create or find worthwhile employment by connecting science that includes Engineering, Technology, and Social Science, to a market. He said that the role for scientific knowledge translators – including policymakers, analysts, engineers, business entrepreneurs, and sometimes scientists themselves – was crucial if their advances were to improve welfare. This needs to be supported with policies that encourage investment and help drive technology entrepreneurship.

This news was originally published at Urdu Point.