The term ‘research’ brings to mind images of people in white coats scampering about in labs. But academics feel that research has a lot more to offer, especially for development projects. Dr Riaz Ahmed Shaikh, who is heading the social sciences department at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (Szabist), pointed this out at the 19th National Research Conference held at the university on Saturday.
Scholars from all over the country presented more than 78 research papers on management, computer science and social sciences, at the conference.
The vice-president of academics at Szabist, Dr Amanat Ali Jalbani, felt that the university had made significant contribution to research inspite of being a relatively new educational institution.
“Planners in Pakistan are focusing on infrastructure rather than social development,” said the chief guest, Tasneem A Siddiqui, who is the chairperson of the Orangi Pilot Project. He felt that the social sector was lagging behind in basic services, such as primary education, health and rural development. “The government should update its research and development strategy and allocate more resources for social development.”
The chairperson of the Urban Resource Centre, Arif Hasan, felt that the old social order was on the decline and new social relations were emerging. “The green revolution, mechanisation and migration have changed the socio-economic structure of the country,” he added.
The president of Szabist, Dr Saqib Rizavi, thanked all the scholars and the delegates for being part of the conference. “The conference provides an excellent opportunity for our faculty, students and delegates to participate in seminars and forums,” he said, adding that the university encouraged research in all its centres, including Stem Cell Research Centre and Sustainable Development Research Centre.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2013.