Islamabad - A meeting of the joint committee of Pakistan-France Peridot Research Programme (Phase-II) was held at Higher Education Commission (HEC) Secretariat yesterday.

Executive Director HEC Prof Dr Arshad Ali chaired the meeting while the French team was led by André de Bussy, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs. The programme aims to develop new scientific and technological cooperation between French and Pakistani higher education institutions/research laboratories by supporting the mobility of researchers. It is being implemented in Pakistan by HEC and in France by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI) and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR). Priority areas identified for 2016 are health, energy, and education.

The committee unanimously approved nine joint research proposals for funding in three priority areas. Pakistani universities that have won the grant are University of Karachi, Balochistan University of IT, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) Quetta, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) Lahore, Hazara University Mansehra, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) Jamshoro, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, University of Education Lahore, FAST-NU Lahore, and Islamia University Bahawalpur.

Under this programme, partners submit the same project in Pakistan and France at the same time. Maximum two research projects can be submitted by a principal investigator for funding. Project life is preferably three years, and will aim at developing ongoing collaborations and to generate new ones. The funds will be granted on an annual basis, maximum for three consecutive years.

The meeting was also attended by Dr Muhammad Latif, Adviser (R&D) HEC, Alban Schwerer, Scientific and Higher Education Cooperation Attaché, Embassy of France, Noshaba Awais, Director (R&D) HEC and Rehan Jamil, Assistant Director (R&D) HEC.