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UPSIGN Annual Symposium: Development challenges and opportunities of Pakistan discussed


London:  UPSIGN Pakistan, a UK based charity, held its annual symposium from 13th November to 3rd December, 2020. During the 4-day virtual symposium, speakers from across the world discussed development challenges and opportunities of Pakistan in greater detail.

Acting High Commissioner for Pakistan to UK Mr. Muhammad Ayub inaugurated the symposium. In his inaugural address, the acting High Commissioner He appreciated the efforts of UPSIGN in forging science and innovations collaborations between UK and Pakistan and globally. He also appreciated the initiative for its focus on addressing the challenges and opportunities related to Pakistan. Commending the organizers of the symposium, he hoped that coordinated efforts of the British Pakistani diaspora and friends of Pakistan would help achieve sustainable development in various sectors of Pakistan economy. Mr. Ayub said such projects that seek to create awareness and solutions to Pakistani's development challenges need to be supported.

On Day 1, Food security with the key theme of Nourish, Grow and Sustain led by Dr Khalid Mahmood (UPSIGN Agri Food Co-lead), discussed the challenges faced by Food Security in Pakistan. Other speakers included Prof Mukhtar Ahmad, Dr Khalid Mahmood, Ms Shandana Gulzar Khan MNA, Prof Mumtaz Cheema, Prof Nicola Lowe, Prof Lisa Boden from University of Edinburgh and Dr Ayesha Riaz. The panel was chaired by Prof Asif Ali, VC, MNSU, Multan. Other panellists included Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan, Chairman, Pakistan Agri Research Council (PARC), Prof Bob Rees, Scottish Rural University College (SRCU), Dr Simon Holland (Al-Qaswa Innovation), Ayesha Ahmed (PakAgriMarket), Aysha Gulzar (JE Austin), Prof Muhammad Imran (University of Glasgow). They discussed the need to adopt Climate smart agriculture and emphasized on the use of digital technologies.

On day 2, the w


ebinar led by Dr Parveen Ali (UPSIGN Healthcare co-lead) explored the opportunities and challenges associated with upskilling Pakistan's future healthcare workforce. Dr Shabnum Sarfraz, Professor Raisa Gul, Professor Abdul Bari Khan, Mr Mike Nithavrianakis spoke about the healthcare system of Pakistan in detail.

On Day 3, the topic was “Knowledge Transfer and Exploitation from Pakistani & UK Universities”, which was chaired by Dr Farroq Shah from UPSIGN. In the plenary address, Prof Atta ur Rehman spoke about recent and forthcoming knowledge economy projects which are underway. Prof. Shoab Khan spoke about “bridging the gap” between industry and academia and the importance of mentoring young entrepreneurs. The final speaker Prof Jawwad Darr discussed the way in which UK universities help academics. In the panel session, the speakers and chair were joined by Dr Shah Rukh Abbas (NUST), Dr Aqif Chaudhry (COMSATS Islamabad), Dr Sara Saeed Khurram (CEO Sehat Kahani) who shared perspectives on how industry should better link to universities, and options for translating research.

On day 4 the global ready graduates' event sought to look at what skills are needed to prepare Pakistan's graduates in order to enable them to get the most out of postgraduate studies outside of Pakistan.The webinar was chaired by Ms Madiha Sajid, lead education UPSIGN opened by a pre-recorded speech from British High Commissioner Christian Turner, who spoke about the importance of bilateral partnerships for the benefit of both nations. Other speakers included Dr Atta Ur Rehman, Deputy British High Commissioner, Mike Nithavrianakis, Professor Jawwad A. Darr (UPSIGN Chairman), Dr Maryam Raab, Dr Adeela Shafi and Prof Abu Bakr.


UP-Sign Pakistan is a UK registered charity that has volunteers across the UK's universities and research organizations.

December 03, 2020

Last updated: December 08, 2020

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