Dec 17 - 30, 2007

Amid an emerging concept of knowledge based economy alike in developed and developing countries across the globe innovation and invention have become indispensable factors of strategic planning of an organization vying to be the market leader. Pakistan is one of the largest exporters of textile product all over the world. And, textile gross contribution in international trade is meagrely five percent. The reality musters up sustenance of economists towards other various unexplored and potential-laden avenues of trade and industry of the nation for long-term economic viability. This exploration can be done through quality primary researches which indeed are absent in the nation owing to the financial budget restraints. Equally responsible is the alien research mechanism to have crept into higher learning institutes of the nation. In developed countries companies get universities done primary research assignments to have fresh insights. Because of, mentors and students mutually work on project. For it companies determine to maintain a strong liaison with research centres and academics on sustainable bases. By virtue of the affinity not only organizations develop talent-pool in the university to trawl out befitted employee when needed but also they get the nectar of imaginative thoughts. Simultaneously research funds solidify standings of universities in imparting market oriented learning to students and the linkage helps updating their curricula. The situation in Pakistan is a stark reverse. Rather, there is a feeble corporate-academia link. To develop a knowledge based economy in fact research practices have to be encouraged in industries and universities altogether. Higher learning institute is the ideal experimentation laboratory for trial and error thereby refined product may be brought up. Mainly two kind of research works are performed in universities in Pakistan: first by independent researcher and second which is funded by a commercial or non commercial body. Rational doctrine states that later can bring a quick economic transformation to knowledge based due to its tangled collectivism. However, it does not deny the importance of individual effort. It further says that data compilation and data collection should not be misperceived as a primary research. This is what has dreadfully prevailed in our research centres, a scholar said while talking to the scribe. Heterogeneous standard of education, reluctance of companies to invest in research and development, and government's volley of claims for promotion of the research culture in the country are attributed few of the many reasons for the weakest relationship of corporate-academia.

Knowledge Based Economy: Unlike hitherto decades recorded envying progress in manufacturing and services sectors of economy new and unique business ideas have already started replacing inputs in factors of production. Beside other elements nomenclatures such as intellectual property, software, intangibility, and research and development are common vocals within commercial and non-commercial ventures. As such research is not a new term in business and trade. Pharmaceutical firms usually engage in shaping medicinal formulas. Similarly service intensive organizations are busy in attracting clientele producing catchy marketing slogans, brand names, and so on and so forth. Yet at this crucial juncture when globalization permits free flow of information service provider and marketer get along a formidable challenge of retaining customers. Henceforth, product development has become rather a difficult process. The market share of "ideas" exceeds significantly in world trade. According to estimation knowledge-based products have swallowed in handsome share of 70 percent of cross border trade. World class organizations allocate significant budget for R&D annually in spite of that investment on research in industries is risky: primarily because RoI can not be guaranteed and above all considerable amount has to be sidelined for instance in procurement of new technology.

Heterogeneous Education Standard: Higher learning institutes can play a major role in promoting research culture in our society. Since capital investment is required to carry forward research activities consistent inflow of funds is highly needed. Thus the need of government's or organizational support certainly goes up. But companies are reluctant to invest in research in universities because of non-uniformity of educational standard in Pakistan. Especially multi national companies tend to pick up only best graduates from top institutes of the country and decline to support improving quality of education of other institutes. Faculties such as science and technology have advantage to build relationship with corporations. Social sciences however remain a neglected area. Dr. Prof. Akhlaq Ahmed, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Karachi attributed it to the lack of employment opportunities in social sciences sector. He said there is an urgent need of building corporate-academia link. Recalling decade of 70s when he was the chairperson of Applied Chemistry department, KU, Dr. Ahmed said industrial links with the department were established. These links are still intact allowing students to join relevant company or division upon graduation as well as prospering industrial funded research works. Unfortunately, this is not the case with social sciences because of limited number of employers, he revealed. Due to the shortage merely NGOs and CSOs take serious interest in funding academic projects. Government is although encouraging corporate-academia link it does not financially support any such venture.

Along with, government should leverage its available resources to implement educational reforms in entirety. A uniform educational standard can bring economic windfalls. It is evident that ex-government had realized the importance of quality education in building the economy. This was reflected in reforms introduced in higher education sector of the country. High-ups of HEC are well savvy of root causes behind industry-academia link. But, they should restrict educational institutions to coordinate dutifully with corporate world. Considering that higher education produces market leaders it is an utmost responsibility of academies to sincerely work to attain excellence in learning process. Syllabus should be designed in accordance with market needs. Agreement of university with company should not be limited to internship programmes, which make university a mere employment exchange. Higher learning is considered a ladder to gain lucrative jobs. This framework of mind has to be reshaped. Nations are progressing to acquire edge over other. The scenario is best described by an author of a book more or less in these words: "You have money, you have tool kit, and difference is only made by you."