: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has awarded 52 Pakistani researchers and scholars for their outstanding work in the spheres of research, innovation and publication during the ceremony of 7th HEC Outstanding Research Awards held at HEC Secretariat.
Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman HEC was chief guest on the occasion, while Dr. Anwar-ul-Hassan Gillani, Vice Chancellor University of Haripur was the guest of honour. The ceremony was also attended by Lt. Gen. (R) Muhammad Asghar, Executive Director HEC, Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, Rector International Islamic University and Chairman of HEC’s Research Awards Management Committee, Dr. Zain ul Abdin, Director General (R&D) HEC and a number of Vice Chancellors, academicians and faculty members.
Outstanding Research Awards programme is an initiative to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Pakistani researchers and scholars in research, innovation and publications. The awards are aimed to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of Pakistani faculty and researchers and promote a competitive research culture in higher education and R&D institutions.
So far, 213 awards have been conferred in six award ceremonies since 2009. The awards are given in four categories i.e. Best Research Paper, Best Young Research Scholar, Best Innovator, and Best Book.
Dr. Yasinzai informed the gathering that as many as 490 applications were received for the four categories, out of which 52 were selected for these awards. He said that 37 scholars won Best Research Paper Award, eight won the Best Young Research Scholar Award, one scholar clinched the Best Innovator Award while six authors bagged the Best Book Award.
Addressing the audience, Dr. Banuri congratulated the award winners and wished them good luck in their future endeavours. Quoting Maulana Rumi as saying “the best of Ameers (rulers) is the one who is always at the door of scholars” he stressed that the nature of work of a researcher is in fact the real reward of his/her efforts.
He said HEC is trying to make the higher education system move away from obsession with papers and certificates to obsession with substance. He said that researchers and scholars should focus on substance of their work, as they are the brains of this country.
The Chairman identified that Pakistan is confronted with a plethora of problems, including energy crisis, water scarcity, housing shortfall, and terrorism. He urged the researchers to come up with solutions to these challenges through their research. He underlined that HEC has introduced a number of programmes oriented to finding out solution to national problems.
He said that the National Challenge Fund is being launched through which consortia of universities will be able to conduct research on national challenges. Similarly, he added, the Local Challenge Fund has also been designed wherein a university will concentrate on solving problems lying unresolved in its vicinity or neighborhood.
Dr. Banuri further said that HEC’s Technology Development Fund is aimed at enhancing collaboration between academia and industry to increase productivity, export and employment. He said that Pakistan has tremendous potential to flourish its various sectors including livestock, cotton and textile. This is a matter of concern, he regretted, that Pakistan is one of the biggest cotton producing countries and its cotton export is less than that of many other countries. He emphasised that academia must assist the textile and other sectors to grow and pave the way for national prosperity.
In his remarks, Dr. Gillani said the process of selecting researchers and scholars for Outstanding Research Awards is highly credible, as international and scientific standards are followed to ensure its credibility. “I feel honoured to have worked with HEC. We are lucky to have leaders like Dr. Banuri and Mr. Asghar who have extensive academic and administrative experience.”