Special Discussion on World Science Day for Peace and Development

Guest Prof. Dr. Shahid Mahmood Baig, Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation and Engr. Farid Bakhtiyar, Senior Research Officer, Pakistan Council for Science & Technology. Listen Here

First Industrial National Innovation Survey (FINIS) Launched in Pakistan (Read More.......)

Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST); an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Science and Technology mandated to advice the government on science, technology and innovation policy issues, has launched the First Industrial National Innovation Survey (FINIS) in the country.


1. Introduction

1. It is now universally recognized that the development of a country depends on its S&T capacity. This linkage is witnessed across the nations and through the course of history of hundreds of years. Especially after the World War II, the established recipe for nation build-ing and reconstruction has been the use of rap-idly expanding S&T resources. Since the dawn of 21st century, there has been absolutely no human activity that is not affected by S&T advances, and consequently there is no socio-economic development aspect that is not prone to S&T based solutions. The transformational powers of S&T applications in changing the socio-economic conditions of any country, irre-spective of its geography, ethnicity or cultural traits, are therefore self evident. Ignoring this reality can be done only at the cost of dignified national survival.

2. The pace of advances in different fields of science and technology has been stead-ily increasing during the last fifty years. With more countries vying for higher positions on the development ladder, the competition is becoming stronger and wider. Even the most advanced countries having pioneering role in R&D are concerned about their ability to retain their leadership positions in the long run, es-pecially in the newly emerging fields of S&T. A prolonged and determined effort to build mod-ern S&T capacity, through a visionary policy is the only guarantee for any developing country to achieve progress in a globalized economic world order.

3. Pakistan is a country that is endowed with all the ingredients to become an economic power but a long trail of missed opportunities has severely hampered its progress, leading to the unsatisfactory current development indi-cators. Historically, Pakistan performed very well in the early years after independence in 1947 and successfully installed its S&T infra-structure, starting almost from scratch. It was amongst the pioneers in developing countries to chalk-out five-year plans and to devise an impressive Science and Technology policy in

1984. The head-start of Pakistan as compared to Asian Tigers came to a naught due to po-litical instability and lack of leadership. Conse-quently, in spite of an impressive array of R&D organizations and higher education revival ef-forts, the net S&T capacity is lack-luster.

4. A comprehensive and forward looking national S&T policy of Pakistan was formu-lated in 1984, after an elaborate and extensive process of consultations with all relevant stake-holders. After almost 10 years, an upgrade of this policy was prepared in the form of Na-tional Technology Policy and Technology De-velopment Plan - 1993. An appraisal of the state of S&T in the light of existing policies was undertaken by the National Commission for Science and Technology in 2000. The recom-mendations of that meeting currently consti-tute a de facto national S&T Policy. No further reconsideration or revision of the current S&T system in the country took place until 2009. It is, however, relevant to mention that a number of sectoral policies such as education, health, IT, quality control, environment, industries etc, were prepared by different departments and Ministries. The national S&T system com-prises of all these sectors and hence, the role of S&T policy is to create synergy, coordina-tion and overall guidance of the integrated sys-tem. Moreover, Pakistan has a Federal political structure with considerable autonomy vested in the Provinces, which are supposed to per-form a large part of actions directly relevant to the national policy. It is therefore, more impor-tant that National S&T policy provides a holis-tic view of the role of S&T, aligns sectoral pol-icy objectives, plugs gaps of areas not covered by sectoral policies, sets directions of future in-stitutional development and prescribes moni-toring of the implementation process in light of clearly defined objectives. Maximum effort has been made to keep the S&T programmes aligned with the Vision - 2030 declarations. This policy revision has also benefited from a candid analysis of the operational success or otherwise of previous policies.

5. The policy described in the present docu-ment envisages a paradigm shift, in which in-novation is recognized as an integral part of S&T system. It is emphasized that the innova-tion system of the country needs to be consoli-dated and expanded. The S&T policy has to be demand-driven and people-centric. The high-est premium is placed on the quality of human resource and the necessary measures to edu-cate and train manpower. The need to engage public sector in achieving overall policy objectives is also underscored.

6. Since, it is important that all stake-holders understand the terms Science, Technology and Innovation in a consistent manner, the com-monly accepted definitions of these terms are given below:

Science is a body of knowledge about the basic principles and laws that govern the behaviour of natural world. Scientific knowledge is creat-ed through observations and experimentation using deductive and inductive logic to correlate the available data. It is widely recognized that Science is the basis of modern technology. No amount of technological know-how is a substi-tute for the ability to understand scientific principles and capacity to expand its horizons.

Technology is the practical application of heu-ristic or scientific knowledge to create tools and gadgets that are helpful in a wide range of human activities. Technology provides the interface between abstract knowledge and the necessity of putting it to practical use.

Innovation is a thought process that cuts across the boundaries of S&T, involving also social, legal and financial acumen. It is a mechanism of creative thinking, making it possible to bring about positive change using all available re-sources. Consequently, the innovation process succeeds only in an environment where coop-erative action by a network of institutions is possible. The classical definition of innovation system by Freeman (1987)[ ] states, ..the network of institutions in the public and pri-vate sectors whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify and diffuse new tech-nologies. Innovation has strong social moor-ings which enable appropriate adaptation of value-neutral technical resources to achieve particular results under available conditions and constraints.

1. Vision and Objectives
2. ST&I Planning and Management Structure
3. Human Resources
4. Indigenous Technology Development
5. Technology Transfer and the Creation of Absorptive Capacity
6. International Cooperation
7. Thrust Areas