Round Table Conference on Commercialization of Academic Research: Retreat and Way Forward

Pakistani economy has great potential and has shown resilience in the face of an unconventional war.There is a need that Government should play a strong role in creating a conducive environment for local industrial development as well as the development of higher education sector in Pakistan.This was resolved by industrialists and academicians who met in a One-Day Stakeholders Round Table Conference (RTC) on Industry-Academia Collaboration: Commercialization of Academic Research conducted at PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi on October 10, 2019. This project was funded by HEC under Thematic Research Grants Program to Dr. Ahmed Imran Hunjra, Principal Investigator/Chief Organizer RTC & Assistant Professor, UIMS-PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi. Participants of this conference included Prof. Dr. Asad Zaman, Member, Prime Ministerís Economic Advisory Team & Ex-Vice Chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Prof. KashifurRehman, Vice-Chancellor,City University of Science and Information Technology, Mr. Muhammad Ahmed, President, Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mr. MianShaukatMasud Ex-President,Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Faheem Sardar Investment Banker & Managing Director of TANGENT Consulting, Dr. Farida Faisal Associate Professor, UIMS -PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Prof. Dr. Abdul Waheed Administrator, UIMS -PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi & Prof. Dr. Mobushir Riaz Khan Director, UIIT-PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi. They met to discuss the challenges and opportunities with regard to industry-academia collaboration and commercialization of academic research. Prof. Dr. Asad Zaman, member Prime Ministerís Economic Advisory Team stressed the universities and industries develop graduates as human beings rather than just human resources who work for their material objectives. He stressed that sensitivity to social issues and service orientation is the need for an hour to be adopted by universities and industries alike. Prof. Dr. Kashi fur Rehman suggested the outcome of PhD theses which are placed in HEC repository should channelize with relevant stakeholders and Industries, so that they may benefit from academic research. Industrialists remarked that although the economy is facing greater challenges, by adoption of new technologies they can enhance national income. Industrialists vowed to support universities in conducting applied research and engaging their graduates in internships and capacity sharing. The conference resolved to suggest and recommend that there is a need to conduct research that is applied in nature, sector-specific and contextualized given local conditions in Pakistan. For this purpose, they recommended curriculum revision, teacher training and program redesign. Participants also agreed to suggest that country needs to develop institutes that carry out quality certification, patenting and branding of their research output. Major focus should be given to the development of the IT sector which is growing rapidly and have the potential to compete with India as well. Participants appreciated project team for striving to bridge the gap between industry and academia, the much-needed task.