The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Wednesday awarded scholarships to 137 PhD scholars to undertake research at foreign universities.
The successful candidates were selected, from a pool of 190 scholars, under the International Research Support Initiative Programme (IRSIP). HEC Executive Director Sohail Naqvi chaired the meeting that was held to assess the applicants.
The selected candidates, who are currently pursuing their PhDs in various disciplines in Pakistan, will spend six months at top-ranking universities of 37 academically advanced countries, where they will conduct research in their respective fields of specialisation.
Besides academic expenditure, the scholarship also covers travel and living expenditure.
HEC Media Manager Murtaza Noor said the scholarships aim to enhance the research capabilities of scholars, which is only possible if they are given adequate foreign exposure.
“Scholars in Pakistan often face several problems due to lack of resources but this programme will help them carry out high-quality research,” he said.
With the addition of these scholars, the number of IRSIP scholarship recipients has increased to 1,647 in the past 10 years.
The programme, according to Noor, has also helped develop academic linkages between local and foreign institutions.
As an outcome of the programme, the number of international research publications by Pakistani scholars has increased from 304 to 662, while the local publications have risen from 380 to 552, said Naqvi.
“Due to this phenomenal increase in research publications, Pakistan’s research has gone up by 300% in the past five years,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.