Scientists conducting solution-oriented research to be rewarded

Islamabad: First International Conference on General Chemistry; From Fundamentals to Applications, was inaugurated in COMSATS University.

The two-day International Conference is being jointly organized by Karakoram International University, Gilgit-Baltistan, and the Department of Chemistry CUI-Islamabad Campus. Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Shibli Faraz inaugurated the Conference.

While welcoming the participants, Rector COMSATS University Islamabad, Prof. Dr. Muhammad T. Afzal called on researchers to focus on local problems and engage in product-oriented research. Citing the example of Tesla Energy, he said that a single corporation was able to amass revenues and create several thousand jobs during the COVID-19.

 Prof. Afzal said that by understanding the chemistry of a single plant like industrial hemp, the west has built a billion-dollar sustainable industry around products like hemp oil, biochar, biodiesel, pharmaceuticals, textiles, fertilizer, water cleaning adsorbents, bio-ethanol, Hemp-lime concrete, and paper.

Prof. Atta Ullah Shah, Vice-Chancellor KIU in his remarks talked about building cooperation in research-informed and how KIU was transforming the skills of students of the northern areas. He said exchanges and cooperation between remote and urban universities enable capacity building for both Universities and is healthy for National Integration.

Prof. Atta highlighted the need for research on medicinal plants in order to benefit from the potential of diverse flora and fauna of the northern areas.

Dr. Sana Sabahat, Chairperson of the Conference, informed the audience about key lectures from International Professors as well as highlights of research work being presented at the Conference. Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Shibli Faraz in his remarks highlighted the role of the Government in bringing forward legislation on industrial hemp to enable Pakistan to benefit from the emerging industry around the plant. He said that the present government believes in investing in the future generation on Science and Technology as well as imparting relevant skills to enable young students to contribute to the national economy.

Shibli Faraz said that the government will reward scientists who conduct solution-oriented research that results from intangible products, innovation, and commercialize patents. He also said that the total global herbal trade is currently assessed at US$ 120 billion, and Pakistan needs to devise a strategy to exploit the potential of medicinal plants to become part of this global market.

Shibli Faraz lauded the efforts of CUI for reaching out and enabling the capacity building of remote universities like KIU and said that the efforts of universities must be to become economic hubs. He said that Pakistan needs to diversify its export basket from a textile-dominated to an innovation-led export.

Over 100 participants of the conference including students, researchers, faculty members from various universities were present in the inaugural ceremony.