Engineering Post Report
Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is globally recognized as one of the main drivers of economic growth and societal well-being. Investment in the research and development (R & D) for development of new products may not always be successful and cannot just be done by the public sector.
However, a developing country like Pakistan needs to have an STI policy and plan that will describe careful investment in the field of STI for maximum benefits.
In this context, the annual plan drawn by the official quarters concerned of the Federal Government envisages enhancing collaboration among R & D organizations, academia and industry; reorganization of R & D organizations with new KPIs, up gradation of existing laboratories infrastructure, acquisition of expertise in new technologies and realizing collaboration among defense and civil R7D organizations with the private sector.
Following are some of the key highlights of the progress made and measures taken by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and its R & D organization during last financial year 2018-19 prior to what is aimed and targeted to be achieved during current financial year 2019-20..
Under Certification Incentive Programme for providing partial support as well as training to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a total of 259 applications were received and 242 applicant firms were approved for award of the Incentive Grant. Out of these, 194 firms had already received the Incentive Grant till now.
For Capacity Building and Human Resources Development (HRD) in Science and Technology Sector, Science Talent Farming Scheme (STFS) is under implementation for grooming the selected youth and supporting them from school to college level by progressively exposing them to advanced topics in science with application of inquiry based approach to learning . Under the scheme selection of 3 batches of total 900 students had been completed and selection of 4th batch had recently been completed after its start in January 2019.
Under STFS scheme, Pakistan Science Foundation has paid monetary benefits to 600 students. 650 Laptops have also been distributed among 1st and 2nd second batch whereas another 300 Laptops are in the pipeline for 3rd batch students.
National Capacity Building Institute for Water Quality Management at Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources has been recently completed. This Institute has been set up to train the qualified manpower in water sector and to also train in-service water supply professionals such as managers, engineers, scientists, field staff and Water Quality Management.
Establishment of Gems and mineral Cutting and Polishing Centre at Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan initiated last year was in full swing during 2018-19 and making steady progress. Similarly, an initiative was also launched for up-gradation of Fruit Processing Analytical Laboratory and Preservation Centre of fruits and vegetables of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Under the project “ Establishment of Precision Systems Training Centre and PCSIR Laboratories at Gwadar”, provision of technical know-how will also play a vital role in the economic development by providing testing facilities to the local industries in food safety and security, building materials, minerals, water testing , fisheries and chemicals.
PCSIR with its network of 17 research laboratories/ units is also supporting the industrial sector of Pakistan in these areas. PCSIR is promoting laboratory scale development to pilot scale level in areas of Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals, Food, Herbal, Minerals, Cosmetics etc.
A project of Survey of Pakistan about “ Establishment of New Generation Geodetic Datum of Pakistan” and another project of SUPARCO for establishment of Space Applications Research Centre (SPARC-GB) at Gilgit-Baltistan were other important projects outside the Ministry of Science and Technology.