Islamabad - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has termed the role of academicians and researchers important for socio-economic growth of the country. 

He was addressing the opening ceremony of the National Symposium titled “How to Develop Strong Linkages between Business, Industry and Academia” organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the Institute of Space Technology and University of Gujrat, Pakistan Institute of Entrepreneurship, held at HEC Secretariat, Islamabad.

The participants of the workshop included industrialists, vice chancellors, senior academicians and researchers from across the country. The Symposium was aimed to provide a platform to both industry and academia to come under one roof to jointly propose the fit-for-purpose policy for transformation of invention into innovation (products and production processes) which will ultimately have an impact on knowledge-based economy as a whole and create an environment of knowledge-based revolution in Pakistan by motivating people from both academia as well as industry to utilise state-of-the-art and high end technologies for rapid innovations.

The minister said that the country’s image has been changed altogether during the last couple of years.

“This is a real change that a country synonymous with terrorism has attracted such a huge investment under China Pakistan Economic Corridor and is being regarded as a safe haven for huge Chinese investment,” he said.

Ahsan urged the universities to ensure transfer of technology by enhancing linkage with industry, and provide hands-on experience to students and researchers by exposing them to currently on-going projects.

He also underlined the significance of promoting entrepreneurship among students, empowering SMEs and turning focus towards technical subjects alongside soft subjects.

The minister also inaugurated the website launched for enhancing interaction among industry and academia. This is a website of its kind which is hosted on HEC portal and is the most convenient way of interaction between academia and industry.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, said that university research must translate into fruitful impact for society. “The present gap between academia and industry must now be bridged,” he added.

A keynote address was delivered by Imtiaz Rastgar, Chairman Rastgar Engineering Company (Pvt) Ltd wherein he underlined the need for academics and researchers to assess socio-economic needs and accordingly update the curricula as well as conduct research in those areas that can provide solutions to challenges faced by our society and economy. He said that industry the industry is ready to open its doors for universities to provide training to students and to learn from new knowledge.

Later in day, special lectures were delivered by Dr Arshad Ali, Rector, National Textile University on “21st Century Challenge for the Industry”, Zahoor Sarwar, Deputy Director, ORIC, IST on “World Best Practices of Industry Academia Linkage”, Tahir Chaudhry, President Pakistan Institute of Entrepreneurship on “Turnaround Management as Entrepreneurial Activity,” and Dr Nazir Ahmed Vaid on “e-Industry as Knowledge Economy.”