Sweden and Pakistan have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations, which need further strengthening in the areas of higher education, said Ingrid Johansson, Ambassador of Sweden in Pakistan, while visiting COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI).
The visit was part of efforts to promote exchange of faculty and students between Swedish universities and leading universities of Pakistan, by the Swedish Embassy and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) in collaboration with CUI.
While sharing data, Dr. Hans Pohl, Program Director STINT, informed colleagues at CUI that based on Scopus Database, Pakistan’s publication volume is approximately one third of Sweden’s but is growing more at a fast pace. Co-publications originating in Pakistan and Sweden receive high impact of 7.47 on average. He informed that Pakistan along with Iran and Saudi Arabia were rapidly growing in their research and innovation landscape and that all three countries had maintained their positions through 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Dr. Pohl offered CUI to benefit from the STINT’s program portfolio, which included startup initiation grants, grants for dual degree programs, teaching sabbaticals, funding streams for mobility for enhancing research cooperation, as well as support for university’s internationalization efforts and scholarships.
Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar, Rector CUI informed the ambassador, that CUI has benefitted immensely from the Scholarships and faculty development opportunities offered by Swedish universities. He informed the ambassador that CUI was ranked number 1 in Pakistan as per the TIMES Higher Education (THE) world universities rankings 2019 and Shanghai Academic World Ranking of Universities 2019.
He said that CUI is improving educational services by deploying technology even in remote campuses through Hybrid Teaching. Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar said the university is planning to open new campuses in the South of Pakistan in line with its federal mandate and with cooperation of the Higher Education Commission.
The Ambassador of Sweden said that she was pleased to see a thriving startup culture at CUI that is similar to Sweden where the economy is increasingly relying on small and medium enterprise as well as the ingenuity of young graduates with their innovative ideas.
She also said that Pakistanis who have gained 5-10 years of job experience in the Swedish industry need to be allocated appropriate opportunities in the Pakistani job market. She also indicated the need for sharing Sweden’s experience on the triple helix approach and increasing cooperation between the government, industry and academia.
The Swedish guests were also shown various departments of the Islamabad Campus as well as the CUI Central Library.