Islamabad- European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan discussed possibilities to develop Pakistan’s research potential.

A four-member delegation of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) visited Higher Education Commission Secretariat at Islamabad today, and held a meeting with Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Executive Director HEC. Dr. Ansar Parvez, Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and senior management of HEC were also present on the occasion.

Headed by Dr. Sergio Bertolucci, Director CERN, the team included Dr. Rudiger Voss, Head of International Relations, Mr. Claude Crottaz, Head of Training, Science and Space Travel, and Ms. Margaret Susan Foffano, Scientific Secretary.

Both sides discussed future collaborations in enabling faculty members from universities to conduct research at CERN facility in Switzerland. Different HEC initiatives for supporting research and split PhD programs were discussed.

Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed apprised the CERN team of various initiatives of HEC undertaken for promotion of research and innovation. He said HEC initiatives have brought about a paradigm shift in the higher education sector of Pakistan. He added "Access rate of higher education has improved from 2.6 percent to eight percent and gender equity had also improved and now stands at 54-46 percent."

He shared with the visitors different HEC initiatives including National Research Program for Universities (NRPU), Pakistan-US science and technology cooperation program, grants for presenting research in international conferences, establishment of technology incubation centers and offices of research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORICs) at universities, mega IT projects like Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN), digital library and video conferencing facility.

Dr. Bertolucci said we are looking forward for collaboration in research and development possibilities in science and technology in general and physics in particular. "CERN is a major S&T funding Agency and would like to know the work done by HEC in the higher education sector and extend its support for advancement of higher education and research in Pakistan," said Dr. Bertolucci.

Pakistan had recently applied for the associate membership of CERN to increase collaboration level between Pakistan and CERN. The delegation showed interest in visiting different universities, scientific organization and industrial complexes in the country, so as to understand the education system and organization of physical Science.

CERN, located in Geneva, Switzerland, is one of the world's leading scientific organizations which had been conducting research on high energy and physics since its inception in 1954. The CERN members include 20 European countries, namely, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungry, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. There are four associate members, including Romania, Serbia, Israel and Cyprus and five observer states, including India, Japan, Russian Federation, Turkey, USA and two international organizations, European Commission and UNESCO.