Islamabad - Higher Education Commission has awarded 31 projects under Technology Development Fund (TDF) to foreign returned PhD scholars in order to develop new technologies relevant to country’s socio-economic needs. This was the first ceremony held in this regard. On the occasion, the Minister for Planning Development & Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal said that government is making universities engines of innovations to bring transformational reforms in the country.

Chief guest Ahsan Iqbal said that technologies are redefining the production means and Pakistan has to adopt technologies as their beneficiaries so as to realize its dream of joining 25 leading economies of the world by 2025. He also said that TDF has been launched to build strong linkages between knowledge and production platforms.

“Our universities need to turn into centres of innovation,” he added. The minister also stated that economic prosperity is linked to political stability. “We have to be mature as a nation and ensure internal harmony and positive synergy,” he stressed.

Ahsan stressed that the revolutionary and swift changes in information technology have to be adopted in a competitive manner. He said, “New technologies of robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data science are fast changing the way developed world is progressing and we have to adopt these technologies on a faster pace.”

He appreciated HEC for focusing on faculty development adding that these areas have to be given special attention. 

Chairman HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed in his address informed that as many as 116 scholars submitted their proposals under TDF.

He said 31 projects have been selected for funding after thorough evaluation by HEC’s expert committee.

The chairman urged researchers to focus on bringing real impact in the society through these projects.

He said the selected projects include nine projects in the field of information technology, eight projects in food science and technology, and seven projects in agriculture engineering among others.

He added that the University of Agriculture Faisalabad has won 10 projects, while National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad stood second by winning five projects.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said each approved project will receive a grant of 14 million rupees.

“The projects approved in specified areas are expected to develop products or services which would positively impact the economy, resolve a current problem, meet a market need, utilise local raw material, and create large scale employment,” he said.

our staff reporter