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US, Pak commit to double funds for science and technology research

ISLAMABAD, 04 FEB (DNA) – American Ambassador David Hale and Chairman of the Higher Education Commission Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding at the Higher Education Commission Auditorium in Islamabad, doubling funding for the Pakistan-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Program.

The MOU will provide more than $8 million in joint funding for high level collaborative research in science and technology, with a new focus on health and other fields such as water, energy, and information technology.

“The benefits to us all in developing our education, knowledge, skills, and human capacity are immeasurable,” Ambassador Hale said.  “The increase in funding from both the United States and Pakistan demonstrates the level of importance we both place on investing in science and technology.”

“Pakistan and the United States have had a long history of partnership in education and research, and this agreement shows our commitment to continue that partnership for many years to come,” said HEC Chairman Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed.  “Pakistani researchers are making significant contributions to the scientific community both nationally and internationally.”

Since the program’s inception in 2005, the United States and Pakistan have jointly funded nearly $34 million in collaborative research, supporting 96 projects conducted by scientists and researchers from both nations working in collaboration.  Each year, researchers, scholars, and scientists from the United States and Pakistan propose subjects for research, and are selected for funding through a competitive process.

 Previous grantees have focused on diverse topics, including food security, public health, disaster management, engineering, water, energy, and information technology.   The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of State are the joint contributors for this phase of the program.

 The MOU was highlighted as a key area of cooperation laid in the meeting of President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in October, 2015.  The Program’s increased emphasis on health research fortifies the bilateral commitment to implementing the Global Health Security Agenda, an international initiative to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. DNA

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