LAHORE - There is a need to create a strong interface between higher education institutions, widely recognized as essential contributors to economic development, and the industry that requires the skills and knowledge to increase productivity.

This was stated LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar while speaking at a meeting convened by Higher Education Department here at Civil Secretariat on Friday. The meeting was chaired by the Secretary Higher Education Punjab Tariq Mehmood Khan and also attended by the Director Research, University of the Punjab, Dr Amir Ejaz, the Director Research UET, Dr. Waqar and Abid H K Sherwani of Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

The LCCI Vice President said that the university-industry linkage was of utmost importance to keep the local industry competitive in the international market by establishing missing links to identify weaknesses and strengths for economic and industrial growth in Pakistan.

Kashif Anwar was of the view that academia should conduct research on sector-specific issues to achieve the ultimate goal of progress and prosperity.

He said that it is a vital instrument of growth that has direct and far reaching implications for the national economy. The concept has successfully evolved in the developed world and some developing countries have also made visible efforts to have this linkage working under institutionalized system. Necessity for this linkage is also being felt in Pakistan for quite some time but not much has been achieved.

The LCCI Vice President said that establishment of proper university-industry linkage would help Pakistan in becoming a knowledge –intensive economy instead of labour-intensive. He said that new technology is critical to competitiveness which is a prerequisite to industrial growth of any country.

Kashif Anwar said that the researchers’ collaboration with local industry would improve the product and processes leading to decreased import of raw material and increased export of the finished products. The products and processes needing improvement should ideally be in priority areas relevant to national needs for socio-economic development of the country.

He said that Pakistan’s private sector comprises many technology-based industries. He said that for them research is like blood in the veins without which they could not possibly survive in the current global environment, where industries would endure on the bases of competitive edge.

The LCCI Vice President said that this scenario makes the Research imperative for the industrial development to face the upcoming global challenges. Therefore, generating closer linkages between the public sector and the higher education institutions is the need of the hour.

He said that long-term business relationship between Research Institutions and industries could be developed provided the government and the private stakeholders play their due role in this respect.

The government can help institutionalize the linkages by upgrading of the faculties in relevant institutions and provide them with suitable funding for equipping the laboratories and libraries.