ISLAMABAD - The award distribution ceremony for the 7th National Science Talent Contest (NSTC) was held at Higher Education Commission (HEC) secretariat on Tuesday. Dr Javaid R Laghari, Chairman HEC, presided over the ceremony. The students groomed under the NSTC participate in International Science Olympiads in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. All the four members of Pakistani team won bronze medals in International Biology Olympiad held in Taiwan from July 10-17, 2011. Two students won Bronze Medals and two Honorable Mentions in International Physics Olympiad hosted by Thailand from July 10-18, 2011. Two of the four Pakistani team won Bronze Medals, while one of them clinched Honorable Mention in International Chemistry Olympiad held in Turkey from July 10-18, 2011. In the International Mathematical Olympiad held from July 16-24, 2011 held in Netherlands one student won Bronze Medal and one Honorable Mention. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Laghari said, I am happy to see that the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Careers programme, a joint venture of HEC and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, grooms and provides avenues for international competitions for these youngsters. This is an innovative and enterprising activity for encouraging and providing incentive to the youth. The Chairperson said that trained and educated human mind is recognised today as the most precious asset of a country since it is able to overcome any shortcoming in resources a country may face. Pakistan is doubly blessed with an abundance of natural resources as well as bright young minds, however, it is only through education that we will be able to make use of our resources and rapidly progress like developed countries of the world. Dr Sohail Naqvi, Executive Director, HEC appreciated the winners of International Science Olympiads, adding that he is seeing future of Pakistan in safe hands. This ceremony is organized not to recognize the prizes that these students have won but the talent that they have. They have taken the world head on and made their country proud. He shared with the audience the achievements of HEC over the last eight to nine years, explaining how different initiatives of the Commission have changed the overall landscape of higher education in Pakistan. NSTC is an extension of the National Physics Talent Contest (NPTC) that was launched by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1995. The key objective of NPTC was to give recognition at the highest level to talented science students who excel in the national competitions and represent the country in the International Olympiad in Physics. Acknowledging the success of NPTC, HEC approved a proposal of the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) for proper institutionalization and extension of scope of NSTC to include disciplines of Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology as well. STEM Careers Programme was thus launched in 2003 with the aim of grooming talented students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Under this Programme, bright young students of first year FSc/A-levels are invited to compete in the National Science Talent Contest held annually in the four disciplines of Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. And the finally selected students compete in International Science Olympiads in Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. Furthermore, STEM Careers Programme holds two annual National Engineering Competitions. One of these, the National Engineering Robotic Competition (NERC) is being held in collaboration with EME, NUST since 2004 and the other one, the Design, Build and Fly Competition (DBFC) in collaboration with the GIK Institute, Topi, since 2006. STEM Careers Programme has also been sponsoring projects participating in Shell Eco-marathon since 2009. In year 2010 SCP has funded three projects whereas in this year SCP has funded five different projects for participation in Shell Eco Marathon 2011 held in Kuala lumpur, Malaysia. STEM Careers Programme has also sponsored a CASE team for their participation in ABU ROBOCON 2010 held in Cairo, Egypt in September 2010. This year SCP also granted sponsorship to Karachi Koalas - Robot Soccer Team from IBA Karachi who participated in the World RoboCup that held in Istanbul, Turkey.