ISLAMABAD   -   Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry and NICON Group of Colleges Pakistan & UAE have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote academia-industry linkages and collaborate for promoting research activities in the field of business and industry.The signing ceremony was held at ICCI where Zafar Bakhtawari, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Mir Wajid Ali, Regional Director NICON Group of Colleges, signed the MoU.Addressing the signing ceremony, Zafar Bakhtawari said that developed nations have achieved tremendous economic progress only by promoting academia-industry linkages and we have to follow the same approach to lay the foundation for sustainable economic development in Pakistan.He said like other South Asian countries, Pakistan is still far behind in the development of university-industry collaboration while such collaboration is the key for conceptualization, production and commercialization of high technology productsZafar Bakhtawari said we need to produce high value products which are not possible without innovation, new ideas and research-based studies. So it is high time that we should identify the areas of collaboration between academia & industry which are the two basic sectors of economy for national progress. He hoped that ICCI and NICON Group of Colleges cooperation would contribute positively in promoting research activities that would prove beneficial for business and industry.Speaking at the occasion, Mir Wajid Ali, Regional Director, NICON Group of Colleges said that the main purpose of MoU is to carry out collaborative activities to further promote the common interests of stakeholders of two organizations. He said NICON would cooperate with ICCI in research activities and share its resources for the uplift of business activities.He said NICON would partner with ICCI for the skills development and vocational trainings of youth and manpower working in SMEs in this region. Both organizations agreed to exchange educational resource materials of mutual interest, collaborate in research projects, and encourage members to take part in conferences, seminars, workshops, job fairs and joint research. ICCI would arrange placement of NICON students on internship basis in local industry to provide them practice experience of theoretical knowledge.