Tech innovation is crucial to create knowledge-based economy: Dr Akram Sheikh

By Ahsan Jamil

The two-day summit on theme Invention to Innovation was held from November 3-4, 2015 at University of Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The objective of the event was to give students an opportunity to showcase their innovative technological inventions. The event was organized in collaboration with Pakistan Scientific and Technological Information Center (PASTIC), Institute of Research Promotion (IRP), Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST), Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), SRC, UMT, AFAQ and other partners.

Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are key drivers of financial and social improvement. The experience of developed nations demonstrates that STI approaches that are all around coordinated into national advancement procedures and joined with institutional and authoritative changes can raise efficiency, enhance firm intensity, bolster quicker development and create employment opportunities.

More than 500 technologies were given space in the event. As many as 1000 innovators and industry partners participated in the event to show their products in large gathering that entailed people from diversified backgrounds. The different industries also participated in the event; Hattar Industrial Estate was one of the vibrant participants that exhibited agricultural and herbal products.

Dr Muhammad Akram Sheikh, Director General, PASTIC National Centre, said while addressing on the occasion, “The science and technology promotion and backing of research culture is largely required and public-private partnerships and industry-academia collaborations can play a key role in nurturing the research realm and foster innovation in order to address the challenges of Pakistan and create a knowledge-based economy”. Dr Akram exhibits rich experience in an array of fields including teaching, research, management, and administration of scientific organizations. He is also the lifetime member of Pakistan Engineering Council, member national curriculum review committees of HEC, member technical review committee of PSF, member HEC digital library advisory board, Member technical working group PARC and member board of studies of various universities of Pakistan.

It is noteworthy that under Dr Akrams dynamic leadership skills PASTIC has become prime organization for scattering of Scientific and Technological Information to the Scientists, Researchers, Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Industry and Citizens of Pakistan thus playing its role to develop innovation. It also holds such events with collaboration of various public and private sector organizations to vitalize scientific and technological ecosystem in the country and mull for intellectual growth.

Dr Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman PSF, graced the occasion with his benign presence. He said while addressing the inaugural session of the event, “The event is the hallmark of excellence and bringing skilled resource talent on the scene; PSF has already launched Science Talent Farming Scheme for capacity building and up gradation of the scientific human resource of Pakistan as it is the foremost need of the country”.

The innovation is one of the focal components on which the academia needs to focus in order to develop cheaper technologies for industries and that can only be done by infusing the finance into RandD so to find out indigenous solutions to indigenous solutions as it is stated by Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman Higher Education Commission.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Haripur, Dr Nasser Ali khan, while addressing on the inaugural ceremony of Innovation Summit, vehemently stressed on the need of nurturing of technology and innovation in the country in order to stack human capital for future needs.

The knowledge-based economy slogan which is loudly uttered by the Ministry of Planning and Development is half fetched without innovation. The innovative technology can lead Pakistan towards that direction on the same pattern as South Korea.

The tech incubators such as Plan9 in Punjab are also proving to be a center of attention for rising tech entrepreneurs as it equips them with requisite skills to morph into a successful technopreneur and commercialize the innovative ideas. These sort of mentoring centers must be replicated in other provinces and academia in order to maximize the commercialization of innovation in the country to create indigenous cost-effective and sustainable technology.

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