BAHAWALPUR: The Office of Research, Innovation, and Commercialization (ORIC) at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur organized a ceremony in the varsity’s Baghdad-ul-Jadeed Campus for distributing award letters among the faculty members who secured the funding under ORIC-Research Grant Program-2020.
Vice-Chancellor Engr. Prof. Dr. Athar Mahboob gave away award letters. According to the spokesman of the university Shahzad Ahmad, the program envisages promoting indigenous and applied research; innovative product or idea development; and commercialization of the potential industry and end-user solutions. It further aimed at inspiring partnerships between the research community of the IUB and industry and end-users. A total of 147 research proposals and projects were submitted by the faculty members across all five campuses of the university under this flagship grants program.
After detailed scrutiny and competitive evaluation involving the concerned Deans of Faculties and Chairpersons of the Teaching Departments, 42 projects were finalized for the award of funding worth a total of 32.2 million rupees.
It is important mentioning here that this initiative is the first of its kind in any public sector university in Pakistan where such a generous research grant has been provided to the faculty members solely through the varsity’s own sources.
Prof. Dr. Athar Mahboob in his address to the participants said that the University has achieved the status of “4th Generation University” and leading towards sustainable development of the country through its rapid progress in teaching, research, patenting, and commercialization of its research. He added that the commercial sale of IUB-developed cotton varieties i.e., IUB-222, MM-58, and IUB-13 has been started for the first time in the history of the university, making it the first public sector university in Punjab to reach this distinction so far. The Vice-Chancellor remarked that today’s a big day as the ORIC has leaped forward to promote thriving research culture in the university which would not only strengthen the research activities but help achieve the dream of a knowledge-based economy in the country.
He explained that 42 projects have been funded in the first phase of the program and the number would be increased gradually in the years to come. He expressed his satisfaction with the process adopted for the evaluation of the projects and stressed that all-out efforts be made to facilitate the research fraternity of the IUB. He cherished the hope that the program would serve as an avenue to provide workable solutions to the indigenous problems faced by the industry and community at large. He also appreciated the concerted efforts made by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Director ORIC, and the entire ORIC team for making the commercialization of the university’s intellectual property happen. He assured his utmost support and guidance to strengthen ORIC’s capacity for promoting the university-industry linkages at large.
In his welcome remarks, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Director ORIC/ Dean Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, thanked all the Deans, Directors, and faculty members for sparing their time and participating in the ceremony. He elaborated that the purpose of ORIC is to serve as a pivotal point to encompass all research activities, develop, expand, enhance, advance, and manage the university’s research programs, and link research activities directly to the educational, social, and economic priorities of the university and the community at large, under a single umbrella. He further added that the ORIC has been instrumental to promote research culture across all disciplines of the University and vibrantly supported academia-academic, academia-industry, and university-community linkages. Further, the office was putting focused efforts to cope up with the challenges in the field of research, innovation, and commercialization. He also shed light on the community-centered projects initiated by the ORIC for the awareness and training of the farmer community including the Farmers’Convention-2020.
While explaining the aims, objectives, and TORs of the program, he laudably acknowledged the generous support and vision of the Vice-Chancellor for patronizing the research and development activities in the university. He informed the audience regarding the disbursement of research incentives to the IUB faculty members. He informed that 8.1 million rupees have been disbursed for the year 2018, and 9.2 million rupees will be transferred to the faculty shortly in respect of research incentive for the year 2019. He also appreciated the cooperation and support extended by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Deans, and the Chairpersons for making the evaluation process competitive for the submitted research proposals. Furthermore, he stressed that an integrated synergy among different stakeholders was the need of the hour to promote a vibrant, innovative, and entrepreneurial environment for strengthening IUB’s research profile to bring it at par with other seats of higher learning within the country and abroad. While congratulating the awardees, he assured them full support of the ORIC Team for completing their research endeavours. He said that the university has embarked upon its research promotion agenda through the ORIC-Research Grant Program. However, the sustainability of such initiatives is very much dependent on how faculty responds to them, and how these projects are efficiently, effectively, and timely completed.
In his concluding remarks, the Vice-Chancellor said that the university’s intention was capacity building of its faculty members and enabling them, via this flagship project, to bid for large-scale research projects offered by different funding and donor agencies both nationally and internationally. He urged them to take maximum advantage of such initiatives and utilize these small projects as pilot studies for undertaking more advanced and sophisticated research in the relevant field in the future.