The University of California spends approximately one billion dollars per annum on research. There are 350 research labs and centers in University of California which furnish distinctive results in science and technology. Up-till now, 1800 inventions have come from the research power house of University of California. Research of this prestigious university has contributed aplenty in world’s greatest discoveries; from reporting and classifying first AIDS case to the invention of the internet.

What makes it different from the research being conducted in Pakistan? Unfortunately, research in Pakistan is associated with acquiring a degree. In universities, a normal research span in M.Phil/M.S is one year (one year for course work), where the researchers are expected to discover something unorthodox and neoteric. After one year of research, three to four months are assimilated by thesis writing to get it published in any international journal with anticipation of good impact; leaves behind the only purpose of doing research which is to get rid of plagiarism by whatever means and ways. Disgruntled and despondent, I more often wonder why plagiarism is strictly checked in the “material and methodology” portion of a research paper mostly; whilst it has to be examined in “results” segment because that it where it actually matters. Concurrently, there is calculated evidence of no dearth of such small businesses in Pakistan who write thesis for researchers. Like any other daily use product, one can buy research thesis with no gigantic efforts. How could a researcher in Stanford University (that produced 21 Nobel laureates), or a scientist in KAIST South Korea (the finest South Korean university in science and technology) endure this short-lived unethical research being conducted in Pakistan?

We are spell bound and fanaticized by international rankings, which is seldom conducted by agencies with less or no repute at all. There is no paucity of such commercial organizations which are self-proclaimed authorities to rank universities they never visited once. Relying on the rankings of such organizations which show that research in Pakistan is amplifying days in and days out, is like living in the fool’s paradise. One such agency is a Canada-based multinational media firm, Thomson-Reuters, that declared a quadrupled elevation in Pakistan’s research productivity. It also termed Pakistan as a country where highly cited papers are featured. If it was true, Pakistan would have been advanced from Europe in research but the fact remains obvious that our research starts and ends in the research lab where it is being conducted.

Despite, adopting concrete measures to ameliorate research work, we are still lacking far behind even than most Asian countries. First reason is that, our research fails to shape into a refined tangible output; in the form of innovation before the world. This is the reason we could not excel in science and research. For instance, if a pharmacologist invents a new medicine, it is eminently difficult for him/her to introduce it in the market as a discovery because mammoth stake holders (pharmaceutical companies) induce obstacles. A complete drought of R&D in Pakistan pushes our research in the nook of oblivion. Secondly, most of our genius and assiduous minds pursue their research in the best foreign universities but on their return; government, HEC and universities do not embolden their work nor seek recommendations on how to build the same facility back in Pakistan. Their work is implemented in the foreign countries but not in Pakistan. Thirdly, there is a destitute of entrepreneurial thinking among local market community. This is the reason our research products are never introduced before the world as an invention. The science of entrepreneurship has long shunned the archaic methodologies in developed countries. We are in phobic to absorb new risks.

HEC came into being with an aspiration to devise direction for universities on higher education. It started things adequately well but the vision and policies got politically polluted by successive governments. The devolution of HEC through 18th Amendment has also created setbacks to standards of research in universities. Though, the budget of HEC has increased seven times since its inception, yet it requires more financial support from government and international donors with enlightened policies.

Quaid-e-Azam University National Center for Physics awarded Nobel Prize laureate to Dr. Abdus Salam, is certainly a very good decision by the Prime Minister. It ought to be lauded. But this is not adequate. Listening to Pervaiz Hoodbhoy (a veteran teacher of Physics and Mathematics) once in Quaid-e-Azam University on the subject of science and religion, that how science works on evidences rather than personal liking and disliking.  He elevated few very rational and solid points on our antipathy towards dealing with science and research. Apart from this the research that is conducted in the universities in Pakistan is never aspired to discover a new product. How could such research be of any help when only and absolute purpose of research thesis is to mitigate plagiarism, no matter where was it all copied from.

The swift steps that the government, in general and HEC, in particular ought to take care to establish are that a Research and Development department similar to Plan 9 incubator, that would ponder innovative research products and pave them access to local and global market. This is the only way to cope with the world in new discoveries. The department is to be led by best Ph.Ds of this country of almost every field of study. Ph.D and M.Phil students with extra ordinary research works be selected to work along with the R&D team and seek opportunities to market access. Government should increase education budget for this momentous need. Secondly, HEC needs to engineer a robust bridge between research centers of foreign countries with Pakistani universities. Every university must have at least one research center or institute that functions under the jurisdiction of the university, but as a separate entity. HEC should also create opportunities for under graduates to take part directly in the research work. Thirdly, HEC needs a change in its policy of producing more Ph.Ds than spending on already completed research work. Finally, HEC and universities should emphasize more on research work in M.Phil and Ph.D rather than course work grades.

20th century was the era of succeeding freedom from capitalists and socialist blocks. 21st century is the period of development (education, science, and infra-structure). And the development can only be clinched through research in science and technology.


About Author

He is currently an M.Phil researcher in University of Lahore in the field of Pharmacology. He has been national English declaimer and a member of Standing Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs in Youth Parliament Pakistan. He is the former president of Young Development Corps (a policy making project of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms). He is currently writing articles for The Nation. He can be reached at

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