ISLAMABAD-Government has approved above Rs800 million in grants for COMSATS University, Islamabad to establish an advance-level biomedical research center to promote industrial research in country. A statement said that Central Development Working Party in its meeting held under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Jahanzeb Khan approved a grant of Rs849 million to establish a Center for Advanced Technologies in Biomedical Materials.

The center will be established at the Lahore Campus of the COMSATS University, Islamabad. It said that the project is part of the current government’s efforts to promote applied industrial research under the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Technology-driven knowledge economy led by Prof Atta ur Rahman.

The taskforce had earlier recommended establishment of a center in recognition of world-class research being undertaken at the CUI in its Lahore Campus resulting in patents which have enormous commercial potential.

The University is currently commercialising 4 of its patents based on research undertaken in Pakistan, which are expected to yield several million dollars in royalties and licensing fee.

The University Rector, Dr Raheel Qamar, while expressing views about the project said that investments made by virtue of the taskforce in knowledge economy were aptly timed.

The current government from its very first day prioritised human development over infrastructural development. He said that such investments of the government would yield their dividends in terms of creating job opportunities, generating foreign remittances, reducing dependence on extremely expensive imported materials and create a soft image for the country in the comity of nations.

The CUI will divert approximately Rs703 million, a significant portion of the approved funds, towards establishing research and product development labs, as well as devote nearly Rs100 million towards Industry Relationship Support Fund.

This fund will support technology led startups as well as help faculty secure intellectual property rights to their cutting-edge research. Moreover, around Rs22 million will also be reserved for joint research and training programme of the center to support coordinated scientific research and training of the Center’s scientists with the scientists working in the similar fields in Pakistan as well as in other developed countries.

The center will primarily work on commercial research in a multidisciplinary context particularly tilted towards biomedical devices, tissue engineering and bio-materials having orthopedic, ophthalmic, dermatologic, cardiovascular and dental applications.

As a result of its industry driven research, CUI will leverage its technical manpower strength for building strong linkages with the local and international biomedical and pharmaceutical industries.

The research and innovations at the Center will also help produce high quality PhD and Masters level research contributing overall towards maintaining the international rankings of the university. The project will be executed in 2 years by the COMSATS University Islamabad under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Science and Technology.