ISLAMABAD: Twenty-two Pakistani scholars were awarded a total of $490,000 worth of grants by the US government for research in various fields.
Scholars from all over Pakistan who won the grant attended an award ceremony held in the federal capital. In the first round, 22 researchers were selected out of 180 research applications of people holding Pakistani citizenship. A fifteen member selection committee comprising internationally acclaimed scholars with extensive research experience selected the grantees.
The programme aims to encourage the involvement of Pakistan’s academic community in developing research based policy to facilitate sustained economic growth. Through the Pakistan Strategy Support Programme, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide up to $2.4 million in grants to support policy research over the next three years.
The USAID will facilitate government of Pakistan’s new framework for economic growth which presents an overarching set of policies designed to increase the country’s agriculture productivity and sustainability and create a more competitive agriculture input and output markets. Speaking to The Express Tribune, grantee Dr Waqar Ahmed from Sustainable Development Policy Institute said that such initiatives help home grown researchers who can then facilitate the economic policy. Waqas said that there was mix of people who won the grant which shows that almost all areas are being covered. The documented research will be given to the planning commission and then be fed into the growth strategy as per approval of the Prime Minister, he added.
The grants allow Pakistani scholars to determine what they would like to study, based on their background and interests and also highlight issues of their own regions. Seven of the grant recipients chose to conduct research in the field of economic governance, four grantees picked creative cities and regions, two decided to work on youth and communities, and nine recipients opted to focus on market.
US Embassy Economic and Development Assistance Coordinator Richard Albright said that this research will build a solid foundation for policy decisions to help fuel the growth of Pakistani’s economy.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.
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