Rawalpindi: A policy dialogue was conducted at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah University of Arid Agriculture in Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) to strengthen the links between universities and industry for the economic development of Pakistan.
The main objective of the event was to bring together universities, industry and researchers to discuss the way forward for agricultural / industrial development which can lead to the economic development of Pakistan.
The vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman, participated as a key guest in the policy dialogue with representatives from industry, research, NGOs, the business sector and deans / directors of various faculties of the university. In the opening speech, Professor Khalid Saifullah Khan, director of the university’s ORIC, stressed the importance of links between universities and industry for innovative research leading to market-oriented products and technological development.
Prof. Dr. Khalid said that developed countries have established a strong link between their researchers and industry, which is the main reason for their economic dominance. He added that our industry is in dire need of applied research to solve real market problems. Students graduating from universities should have access to industry as part of their internship program for hands-on experience.
Professor Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman, vice-chancellor of the university, said in his speech that industry, research and academia must be closely linked because none can progress by working in silos. He said the strong links between industry and universities possess a wide range of advantages that can influence universities, businesses, society and nations. This link promotes innovation in society leading to the development of new products and technologies. He further said that strong links between academia and industry can also serve as a breeding ground for promoting the development of new industries that can boost a competitive advantage for Pakistan globally. While highlighting the problems, Dr Zaman said that over the past 70 years, a strong and harmonious working relationship could not be established between universities and industry in Pakistan, for various reasons, the most convincing of them being the lack of interest. and realizing its potential, both in academia and in industry.
Pakistani universities have become more or less traditional educational institutes, mainly concerned with producing low-skilled and under-trained graduates, who are of little or no use to industry as industries need skilled professionals, he said. -he adds. Dr Rai Muhammad Amir, additional director of industry links, insisted that industries should be encouraged to establish R&D units on their premises.