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Importance of Industrial Linkages for Universities or HEIs in Pakistan

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Suleman Tahir A university’s mission in research and development (R&D) is to generate new knowledge and discover creative solutions to problems that arise in many academic disciplines. Researchers, students and professors work together to perform basic and applied research in a variety of subjects, including science, engineering, medicine, social sciences, humanities and more. Commonly universities serve as centers of learning and academic inquiry. In universities or Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the basic function of scientific and scholarly research is to design and test new products or services. It is necessary to develop new technologies and to create innovative solutions to real-world problems. Universities can contribute to economic growth, social & cultural development and discoveries & innovations by conducting activities related to research and development. The outcomes of such research activities can benefit society as a whole. Universities are essential in encouraging interdisciplinary research and cross-disciplinary collaboration, which can help to provide new knowledge and innovative solutions. The next generation of scientists and researchers, who will spur future innovation and aid in resolving societal problems, can be trained on these platforms. Simply, a university’s job in research and development is to produce new knowledge, develop original ideas, and educate the next generation of scientists and researchers to advance human progress in a variety of academic subjects. A collaborative partnership between universities and industries is called “industrial linkage”. It aims to advance knowledge transmission, technology transfer, and research & development. It entails collaborations between academic researchers and industry executives to tackle real-world issues, develop novel technologies, and come up with ground-breaking ideas that can benefit society. The benefits of industrial linking to universities are numerous. The first one is that it gives universities access to knowledge, resources, and experience from the industry that they may use to expand their research and development efforts. This collaboration may result in the creation of fresh research initiatives, as well as useful goods and solutions for the market. Secondly, Industries may be eager to sponsor research programs or offer research grants to support particular fields of study, opening up financing prospects for universities. The research infrastructure, new employee hires, and student scholarship programs can all be supported with the help of this funding. Thirdly, exposure to industry professionals and chances for hands-on learning can help students develop their knowledge and abilities and increase their employability after graduation. Students can see the most recent technology and practices utilized in their disciplines directly through internships, research collaborations, and industry visits. Last but not least, industry partnerships can assist universities in making an impact and adding value to society. Universities can provide cutting-edge answers to social problems like climate change, health, and energy by collaborating closely with industry. This cooperation may also result in the development of fresh ventures, goods, and services that can boost the economy and provide employment. Simply, access to industry knowledge and resources, funding opportunities, opportunities for students to gain real-world experience, and chances to contribute to society through research and innovation are all advantages of industrial linkage for universities. To build and strengthen linkages with industry, Pakistani universities must overcome several obstacles. In Pakistan, there is a comparatively weak culture of industry-academia partnership. Universities are not often considered viable partners for research and innovation by many industrial organizations in the nation. Similarly to this, many institutions don’t take a proactive stance to forge connections with Industry, which makes it challenging to forge close bonds between the two. In comparison to developed nations, Pakistan’s research and innovation ecosystem is comparatively underdeveloped. The inability of universities to carry out high-quality research that is pertinent to industrial needs is caused by a lack of funds, infrastructure, and facilities for research and development. The culture of investing in R&D is lacking in many industrial organizations in Pakistan. They may not recognize the importance of funding long-term R&D partnerships with universities since they are more concerned with short-term earnings. The needs of industry and university research priorities are frequently out of sync. While the industry is more interested in applied research that can result in the development of new products and services, universities may concentrate on basic research. Many university professors in Pakistan lack the knowledge and expertise needed to work with industry. Additionally, there aren’t many incentives for faculty members to collaborate with the industry, which may deter them from doing so. There is no entrepreneurial culture in Pakistani universities that supports the commercialization of research and innovation. Because of this, it is challenging to turn academic research into profitable products and services. In conclusion, there are several obstacles that Pakistani universities must overcome to build and strengthen industrial ties, including a weak culture of collaboration, a weak ecosystem for research and innovation, a lack of industry support for R&D, a misalignment of industry and academic priorities, a lack of faculty-industry collaboration, and a lack of an entrepreneurial culture. To overcome these obstacles, universities, industry, and policymakers must work together to foster an atmosphere that encourages cooperation and innovation because the industrial linkage is one of the effective life-line for Pakistani universities. The writer sit he Vice Chancellor Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology, Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan

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