Knowledge economy is an asset of nations. Potentially, PhD graduates can drive economic change in a society through commercialization of their benchtop research. Shrinkage of job market and subsequent unemployment for PhD graduates exhibits an unhealthy social impact in Pakistan. Sad but true. Academia in Pakistan must revise the class room training pattern. PhD graduates usually prefer an academic position to pursue their life long career. Why they are fanatically hung up with the idea of job? Universities should play the role by inculcating “alternative profession” approach in students as the world is doing so. There are 30,200 active companies headed by MIT alumni with around 5 million employees and 2 trillion USD annual revenue. If these companies are considered a country, it would be a 9th largest GDP of the world (Roberts, Murray et al. 2015). It is all about the difference of training. Extraordinary research in basic science would have nothing to change unless focused on local market needs. Academia usually solves a very difficult problem likely away from the native social issues, however, industry solves a very important problem. The two looks same but exhibits huge difference in depth. The former drains of the money in terms of research funds. The later improves national economy. To grow the knowledge economy, thesis must be transformed into a product. PhD graduates are the best trained force for this transformation. They know how to think in a critically innovative manner, face and bear the stress and potential failure, manage the time, carry out the project in resource poor setups, network, argue, deal with the vendors and administration simultaneously, present and talk to the audience to convince them for research idea they are working on and fund raising through grant applications. These are the ingredients to start a startup. They just need a push.

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Diversity gives a great push to startups, regardless the way you choose to move on. Keep an eye on variable perspectives, create new ideas from your observations and generate a passion to drive your startup. It means there is no definitive correct path to start a startup, the way you move along your idea, new avenues keep on opening at you. You just have to focus on your strengths.

It is common understanding in our society that entrepreneurial activities are vested with professional degree holders for instance engineers, doctors, computer graduates or business graduates. We need to generate the counter narrative. Life science graduates could align themselves into a better entrepreneurial ventures. Principal investigators (PIs) need to redesign their research proposals and equip their students with market-based state of the art information. Subsequently, students must re-orient it to the local market demand. This could only be possible through academia-industry linkage. I suggest to develop it. Student bodies should arrange seminars describing the entrepreneurial potentials by inviting the founders of successful startups, life science innovation competition or business plan competition. It helps to understand the needs and dynamics of local market. During university years, student can get networked through their PIs to the industry which would help to boost the success of their startups in post-degree market ventures.

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Academia should be linked to industry for national economic boost. There is a great similarity between an entrepreneur and a researcher. An entrepreneur builds a business upon an idea in a same way as a researcher builds a thesis upon a hypothesis. Biomedical science is a fast growing industry around the world. Research supplies to meet the needs of a university lab in Pakistan totally depends on import items as depicted by our import bill. All stakeholders must realize that we cannot progress unless a trustworthy linkup is established between academia and local industry. Government is taking initiatives in the form of Certification Incentive Program (CIP) and Technology Development Fud (TDF) to improve the quality of the local products and academia-industry linkage, respectively. Still we have a long way to move on.

It is the right time to re-orient our approach when international projects are entering to Pakistani market. Our industry should be backed with research based innovative knowledge coming out the universities. Our research graduates should work as knowledge agents to support local industry. It would help to face the challenges at international front and subsequently improve the national economy.

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EditorialArticlesAlternative,Entrepreneurship,graduates,PhD,professionKnowledge economy is an asset of nations. Potentially, PhD graduates can drive economic change in a society through commercialization of their benchtop research. Shrinkage of job market and subsequent unemployment for PhD graduates exhibits an unhealthy social impact in Pakistan. Sad but true. Academia in Pakistan must revise the...Pakistan's Only Newspaper on Science and Technology