ISLAMABAD - The 13th International Symposium on Advanced Materials (ISAM) began here on Monday.

This biennial event has become one of the prime international platforms at which materials engineers and scientists keep themselves up-to-date with recent technologies and new developments. During the symposium, 14 keynote lectures, 45 oral presentations and 132 posters are to be presented by researchers. In all 191 papers will be presented by 20 foreign and 171 local researchers. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal highlighted the scope of materials technology as unlimited which has led to a significant increase in the range and depth of research and development in the industrially advanced world.

He said that Pakistan is a developing country, and is rich in material resources. “We are keen to share information and sponsor joint projects to benefit from exchange visits and training programmes. In particular, we would like to have joint ventures involving design, development and engineering capabilities in collaboration with various engineering houses of the world through the acquisition of technical know-how and licensing.”

Pakistan is facing  energy shortage and the emphasis within the country has thus shifted to this sector. It has ample potential sources including hydro-electricity, solar energy and wind energy. “We need to identify materials that could be beneficial in the swift construction of small hydroelectric plants,” he added.

Addressing the ceremony, the acting Chairman of the Symposium, Tariq Ahmad, emphasised the role of advanced materials, saying that advanced materials lie at the cross roads of almost all scientific and technological disciplines playing a key role in the progress of civilisations. Scientific and cultural evolutions are always directly related to the availability of new materials. He also pointed out the significant areas of advanced materials and their incorporation in various technologies and applications.

Secretary of the Symposium, Dr Sara Qaisar said that holding the symposia on advanced materials was a timely decision taken in 1989. The 11th in its series, so far, this biennial event has been held from the last 20 years.

He informed that the theme of these symposia has been to provide a common platform to the participants from abroad and within the country to exchange information, share their ideas, experiences, expertise on the materials that are being used across the globe.