Twenty-two Pakistani scholars have been awarded a total of $490,000 in grant funding by the US government on Wednesday.
The Pakistan Strategy support programme aims to encourage Pakistan’s academic community’s involvement in developing research-based policy to facilitate sustained economic growth. The first round of 22 researchers was selected from 180 applications from all over Pakistan. 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 in the country.
Through the programme, USAID aims to facilitate the government’ new framework for economic growth which presents an overarching set of policies designed to increase Pakistan’s agriculture productivity and sustainability, as well as create more competitive agriculture input and output markets.
Talking to The Express Tribune, one of the grantees, Dr Waqar Ahmed of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, said that such an initiative would help homegrown researchers facilitate economic policy. Ahmed went on to add that research would be accumulated within 6 to 8 months, given to the Planning Commission and then fed into the growth strategy as per the approval of the prime minister.
Seven of the grant recipients will conduct research in the field of economic governance, four will conduct research on creative cities and regions, two will work on youth and communities, and nine grantees will focus on markets.
Dr Shehnaz Akhtar, the only female grantee so far, will be conducting research on the adoption of new technology by farmers. Akhtar told The Express Tribune that farmers from different regions responded to new technology differently. Presently there is no literature available on the subject.
US Embassy Coordinator for Economic and Development Assistance Richard Albright said that the research would build a solid foundation for policy decisions that help fuel the growth of Pakistani’s economy. The second round for the call of applications will begin end June and winners of the grant will be notified in October.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.
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