ISLAMABAD: (September 22, 2018): A delegation of Coventry University, London called on Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) and discussed with him possible collaborations between the two organisations.
The delegation comprised Mr. Gary Armstrong, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor, International Business Development, Prof. Richard Dashwood, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Mr. Christopher Bland, Group Director, Quality Assurance, Dr. Farzana Aslam, Associate Head.
Dr. Banuri welcomed the delegation to HEC and briefed them about the HEC’s initiatives and achievements regarding promotion of higher education in Pakistan. He said that international collaboration will be helpful in resolving local issues. He stressed the need for research based on problem-solving approach in order to help address the problems facing the country.
The delegation shared the strength of Coventry University as well as the success of industry-university linkages. They dwelt in detail on the level of excellence in their engineering, research centres. Apart from serious involvement and funding from industry, it was revealed that the Government investment is also a major part. The Coventry University works on the premise that teaching and learning are deeply connected with the industry, they informed.
Ms. Aslam explained the importance of embedded employability which was a main feature of their programme where each graduate is taught skills for employment making every student fit for work. They also train their students to apply for placement in all over the world, where students are motivated with a suitable academic which results in transfer of skills for a year.
Dr. Banuri expressed interest in the university’s achievements and stressed the need for bilateral collaboration for promotion of higher education and research. He shed light on the HEC Split PhD programme under which Pakistani scholars will spend two-three months every year in the university for research and other activities. The HEC will provide monthly stipend and discounted bench fee during scholars’ stay in the UK, he added. He said Pakistan would welcome support in capacity building, knowledge and technology transfer, and research assessment mechanisms.
Earlier, the delegation held a series of meetings with HEC’s senior management and heads of various divisions as well as representatives of selected universities for exchange of views on different areas of interest including provision of PhD, joint research endeavours, academic partnerships, two-way mobility of faculty and students, transnational education, academic audit and Teaching Excellence Framework.
The delegation highlighted that the research at Coventry University is based on five key themes namely Safety and Security, Intelligent Products and Processes, Creative Cultures, Sustainability and Resilience and Health and Well-being. Coventry University has over 1000 researchers (increasing to 1500 by 2021) working in 15 challenge-led interdisciplinary research centres. In addition to external research funding, the university is committed to an investment into research of over £120m between 2014 and 2021.
In their meeting at the Research and Development (R&D) Division, HEC gave a brief overview on the initiatives, functions, achievements of R&D programmes and two R&D initiatives for the proposed Pak-UK Gateway project namely “Development of Research Excellence Framework (REF)’’ and “Mega Sectoral Research Grant”.
Possibilities of placement of HEC PhD scholars in various priority areas at Coventry University also came under discussion and the delegation was informed that HEC has already availed partial fee waiver from many UK universities.
Moreover, capacity building opportunities available for Pakistani faculty, Quality Assurance implementation mechanism, and ranking criteria for universities were also discussed in the meetings with the heads of HEC divisions.