Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has bestowed 52 research awards upon faculty members of different universities and researchers during a ceremony held in connection with 6th HEC Outstanding Research Awards at the Commission Secretariat here on Thursday.
Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for Science and Technology was chief guest on the occasion, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director HEC, and Dr. Mohammad Latif, Adviser Research and Development, HEC along with a large number of Vice Chancellors and researchers were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, Rana Tanveer Hussain said the government accords due priority to promotion of higher education in the country. The Government has remarkably increased the budget of higher education sector, he added. Admiring HEC for promoting a research culture in Pakistan, he said, “HEC has focused quality of higher education, research and publications, and the results are ahead of us in the form of outstanding research works.” He urged the scholars to conduct research based on solution to social issues. “Research Publications should carry real impact on society,” he stressed.
The Minister observed that the education sector is facing multiple challenges, however the Government is committed to overcoming them. He said Pakistan’s geographical location makes the country a sensitive zone, adding that the country has been worst affected by terrorism. However, he continued, the government and armed forces have efficiently tackled the issue. He said youth are the country’s asset and HEC has worked on grooming their talent and capabilities.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed shared the contribution of HEC towards creation of knowledge and promotion of higher education and research in the country. He informed the audience that the number of research publications was only 800 before the inception of HEC in 2002, while now 12000 research publications surface annually. He said HEC emphasises impact of research on society so as to provide solutions to the country’s prevailing issues. “We have to come out of number game and focus on quality and impact,” he underlined. He urged the academia to adapt itself to emerging trends so as to better cope with future challenges. He stated that the universities job is not merely to impart education but also to ensure social integration.
The Chairman informed the participants that the awards were presented in four categories including Best Research Paper, Best Young Research Scholar, Best Book Publication, and Best Innovator and nine disciplines including Natural Sciences, Biological Sciences, Agriculture Sciences, Health Sciences, Pure Engineering, Computer Science, Social Sciences, Management Sciences and Arts and Humanities. The faculty and researchers have been awarded Rs. 70,000, Rs. 150,000, Rs. 300,000, and Rs. 200,000 per award respectively, he added.
In vote of thanks, Dr. Arshad Ali shared a number of HEC programmes aimed at promoting a research culture in the country. He said HEC programmes like Start-up Research Grant Programme, National Research Programme for Universities, Technology Development Fund, University-Industry Research Support Programme, Thematic Research Grant, Patent Research Support Programme and collaborative research programme with foreign countries have produced remarkable results. He stressed the need for creating indigenous solutions to local problems.
HEC initiated the Outstanding Research Awards in 2009 to recognise the innovative ideas and initiatives of Pakistani researchers and faculty members and to encourage promote a research culture in the country. The purpose of conferring these awards upon Pakistani faculty and outstanding researchers is also to acknowledge their high performance and thus promote a competitive research culture in higher education and R&D institutions. So far, 213 awards have been conferred in six award ceremonies.