David Hale, Ambassador of the United States in Pakistan, and Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the seventh phase of Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Programme.
The MoU will provide more than $8 million in joint funding for high-level collaborative research in science and technology, with a new focus on health and other fields such as water, energy, and information technology.
Since the programme’s inception in 2005, the United States and Pakistan have jointly funded nearly $34 million in collaborative research, supporting 96 projects conducted by scientists and researchers from both the nations. Each year, researchers, scholars, and scientists from the United States and Pakistan propose subjects for research, and are selected for funding through a competitive process.
Many previous participants from this project were also present in the audience, with the discussion focusing on diverse topics including food security, public health, disaster management, engineering, water, energy, and information technology.
The Higher Education Commission, Pakistan, the US Agency for International Development, and the US Department of State are the joint contributors to the Programme during this phase.
Engineer Baligh-ur-Rehman, State Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training said that the 7th phase of the Programme will bring about valuable innovative researches in critical areas. He said that the joint collaboration will promote research activities in Pakistani universities and will benefit the society as a whole.
Minister said that Pakistani students are benefiting from the schemes launched by the Prime Minister, including Fee Reimbursement Scheme and Laptop Scheme. Lauding HEC’s performance, he said HEC has prepared a master plan for research universities, adding that thousands of students are making their career with the support of HEC through its different programmes.
“The benefits to us all in developing our education, knowledge, skills, and human capacity are immeasurable,” the Ambassador said, adding that “the increase in funding from both the United States and Pakistan demonstrates the level of importance we both place on investing in science and technology.”
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said that Pakistan and the United States have a long history of partnership in education and research, and this agreement showed their commitment to continue that partnership for many years to come. He said Pakistani researchers are making significant contributions to the scientific community both nationally and internationally.