Researchers should come out of mere number-game: Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed
AR a must to resolve problems: Dr. Nizam; Implementation important: Dr. Sohail Naqvi
No research policy in Pakistan: Dr. Fazal Khalid; It’s time to shift to AR: Dr. Muhammad Ali
By Ali Arshad
LAHORE: The lack of applied research (AR) in higher education institutions irks top academics of Pakistan, who say applied research is imperative to resolve issues faced by the country. Many academics in the private sector feel that research is neglected because faculty is over-burdened with classwork as teaching brings in students to pay the university bills.
When The Educationist contacted several top academics of the country they agreed that universities in the country lagged far behind in terms of research that could be applied in any meaningful way to the national problems.
Higher Education Commission of Pakistan Chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said, “I agree there is no applied research in our universities. I have given the slogan ‘Impact Factor to Impact’.” He was of the view that the focus on ‘numbers’ was a factor affecting the quality of research. “They (teachers) must come out of number game of impact factor publications and focus on how their research impact their society.” Dr Mukhtar said that Pakistani universities universities that were doing basic research had the potential to do applied research and the problem was that of focus and funds. “HEC has won 3 billion research grant from the Planning and Development Commission of Pakistan. The researchers will get more money, we have already focused on research, especially applied research,” he added.
Punjab HEC Chairman Dr. Nizamuddin said that no sustainable research was being done. He said, “There are many problems in society and universities must play their role by doing applied research to resolve issues of the country.
University of Engineering and Technology Vice Chancellor Dr. Fazal Ahmed Khalid said that substantial applied research had a long way to go in Pakistan. “There was no policy in Pakistan for research, besides lack of research funds. Research is very limited in our country and it should be aligned and re-focused to get the desire results,” he added.
University of Gujrat Vice Chancellor Dr. Zia-ul-Qayyum said that applied and theoretical research go hand in hand and both were equally important. “We must try to fashion both kinds of research at our higher institutes of learning. If applied research seeks to solve and find solutions to everyday, practical problems, it will be a misconception to think that the basic research does not have any practical implications,” Dr. Zia added.
Lahore University of Management Sciences Vice Chancellor Dr. Sohail Naqvi said that people responsible for implementing the research work of academia had a bigger role to play in this regard. When asked about focus on applied research in China and US, he said in foreign countries implementers play appropriate role by prompting the linkage of industry and academia and for the benefit of the society.
GCU-Faisalabad Vice chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali said, “No doubt the fundamental research is also vital for basic understanding of problems, but current scenario has emphasized the necessity of shifting basic research to applied research. We need to set our priorities and to converge our findings into the direct benefits of our taxpayers. Adopting the applied research will not only help us to converge our exciting innovation into products or solutions, but will also change the psychology of the public about the ongoing research.
Dr. Muhammad Ali said the importance of applied research was many folds pivotal for developing nations, as it can be an important tool to improve their socioeconomic development. “It will be difficult for striving economies to maintain the cost of their research and risk the development of sustainable economies without adopting the appropriate ratio of applied research.” He said nations were recognizing the importance of applied research, means the research which is aiming at developing new products and innovations which do have commercial values. “Applied research will help industrialist to pay off for the new technologies and innovations. The trend of applied research is the surety bond for sustainable and long term prosperity of nations.”