Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) and Punjab Higher Education Commission have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collectively work towards promoting higher education, research, training industrial and academia linkages.
The LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh and Chairman Punjab Higher Education Commission Dr. Fazal Ahmad Khalid signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of their respective institutions. LCCI Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, former Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal, Convener Standing Committee on “Industry-Academia Linkage” Umer Saleem, LCCI Executive Committee members Wasif Yousaf, Haji Asif Saher, Naseem Ul Ghani, Fiaz Haider, Zeeshan Sohail Malik were also present on the occasion.
The MOU is aimed at facilitating each other in joint research projects, access to research facilities, sharing of academic data, publications, information sharing, student and academia exchange, exchange of experts and other programs within the applicable legal framework including government policies.
The areas of mutual interest and concern will include the promotion of Applied Research and ORIC (Office of Research Innovation and Commercialization) closer to industry. PHEC shall appoint a focal person in LCCI’s standing committee on Industry-Academia Linkages and other relevant committees.
Similarly, the LCCI representatives will be taken on board while formulating the policies by PHEC.
LCCI and PHEC will celebrate Industry-Academia Linkage week every year in 1st week of April to bridge the gap between Industry-Academia and develop the culture of research and innovation.
The LCCI and PHEC will organize conferences, seminars, visits jointly or individually. Both will identify the areas of cooperation and share information on the opportunities, specifically in areas identified herein.
LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that LCCI is keen to engage Punjab Higher Education Commission for strengthening the industry-academia linkage. He said that the concept of establishing connections between industry and the research-oriented Educational Institutions to cater to the requirements of different sectors of the economy has been gaining a lot of importance for meaningful economic growth and prosperity.
He said that Pakistan’s private sector comprises many technology-based industries. For the research is like blood in the veins without which they cannot excel in the current global environment, where industries would endure on the bases of competitive edge, he added.
This scenario makes the Educational and Research Institutions imperative for our industrial development to face the upcoming global challenges. Therefore, generating closer linkages between the public sector and the Research Institutions is the need of the hour.
The LCCI President said that Long-term business relationships between Research Institutions and industries could be developed providing the government and Public sector organizations like PHEC play their due role in this respect.
He said that the Government can improve these linkages by upgrading the faculties in relevant institutions and provide them with suitable funding for equipping the laboratories and libraries. Funds should be allocated to the institutions for practical research work, to enhance the practical applicability of the research done by the learned professionals.
Chairman PHEC Dr. Fazal Ahmed Khalid said that MOU between the two institutions would go a long way and strengthen industry-academia linkages. “We are living in an era where another industrial revolution is happening, the Chairman said and added that strong industry-academia linkages can play an important role in export promotion and economic development of the country.
He said that the commission is making decisions for the betterment of the higher education system of the province with the consultation of the stakeholders. He said as a regulatory body they will not compromise on the quality of education and rules and regulation. He also said that they will support higher education institutes of the province for enhancing their quality according to the policy of the government.
Convener Standing Committee on Industry-Academia linkages Umer Saleem said that there is no dearth of resources in Pakistan but it is far behind in the economic race because we have failed to properly tap these resources. He said that in the developed economies there is a strong linkage between academia and industry and Pakistan today also needs to adopt that pattern to overcome its multiple issues.