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Ideas to improve R&D in Pakistan

R Wing

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there were research institutes under ministry of science, but they arent performing as well as they could due to typical BS babus lording over engineers, and application of obsolete govt rules on research institutes.

Exactly.
Yes, we should be optimistic, but our deen also shows us how societies develop for both the better and the worst.

In terms of the best, we know of the Ansar in Madina. Following the Battle of Bu'ath, both the Aus and Khazraj leaderships saw that their present course was untenable. So they strived for something better. They respected the tradition of the Yahuud and took their prophetic claims seriously. So, when some of them came across Rasul'Allah (saw), they basically saw a future in him (saw) and in Islam. That society changed, and in doing so formed the nucleus of our history.

Society will not change until the leadership itself changes how it thinks. I'm not talking about revolution. Rather, I'm talking about people who take their mental space from the status-quo to something that demands ambition, sincerity and vision. Islam requires the individual and collective alike to shift their mental state. Unless our leaders shift their mental state, we will not change. Allah (swt) has shown in Seerah that without mental shift, societies do not change unless someone from outside forces them to change (e.g., Fateh Makkah by Madina).

So, in response to everything you said, it won't land unless our leaders want that stuff to land. If our leaders are not interested in change, then we'll stay in the status-quo. We can just look at the reality and see it play out. Right now, the leaders don't want change, and lo and behold, our society is suffering.

I don't know, maybe the global real estate market needs to crash for our society to wake up. Maybe if the value of those apartments in London and Dubai evaporate, our leaders will have an Ansar-like epiphany and decide to focus on building an active economy.

As always, couldn't agree more.

I am writing my thesis (at Harvard) on exactly this problem. Cross-disciplinary insights from neuroscience, behavioral economics, social psychology and sociology (national/organization culture), comparative politics, and applied history all point to exactly what you've said.

The conundrum, as you've rightly pointed out, is how this can happen when the current incentive structures are aligned problematically. Their personal power, perks, and privileges are not directly affected by the overall shitshow and lowering of standards of merit and excellence that we see all around us. In the words of General Jehangir Karamat, a former COAS, this is 'qualitative deterioration' of the worst kind.

I would like to share some good news; some important people are beginning to wake up to the reality that Pakistan (particularly its major nat sec institutions/IC) is being left far behind: without drastic measures/modernization and BETTER PEOPLE (yes, that means bloody civilians!) working under a MODERN SYSTEM (no ancient yessir culture uncles micromanaging tasks, etc.), there is little hope. Please inbox me (if that capability still exists on this forum) as I would like you to be a part of such reform proposals.
 
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313ghazi

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a) Is a good idea, however, with an already low tax base, giving more refunds would decrease the state's own revenue generation effort. It could be argued that the benefit of creating new knowledge could have a commercial value ( eg. patents and commercialization of those patents), but not all research yields dividends or at least dividends upfront. It is kind of like the oil and gas exploration sector. You do not strike oil every time you drill. Valuable research takes time to develop and mature into something substantive enough for society to accrue benefits from it. Not sure the Pakistani governments would be too patient in this regard and sacrifice the revenue these could generate in an election cycle for (possible) long-term scientific/economic gains.

b) I do not know about other varsities but my alma mater in Pakistan is engaged with the textile industry and even Services (Mr. Mukhtar's; PPP leader and ex- defense minister) industry in doing research on biobased composites. It is a public sector university. This is the way to go. A problem that is pervasive in academia in Pakistan in my view is churning out of low-quality research in bulk (I am not even talking about the unethical practices that are being reported with high frequency these days in print and electronic media) just so the principal investigators could bag a promotion/incentive. Quantity is the currency of the time rather than the quality. My view is that any promotions and recruitments in academia should be linked to having a certain number of publications in high-impact factor journals. Similarly, Masters and Ph.D. awards should also be coupled with getting published in medium to high impact factor journals. The problem is that quality research (the type that gets published in such journals) does not come cheap. Higher education would require significant investment. As the things stand, since 2007, each government has subjected HEC before anything else to funding cuts to create fiscal space. That is the priority education in general and higher education, in particular, has this country (for every single government, tall promises in manifestos notwithstanding). HEC has in turn forced varsities to create their own avenues of funding. Universities have done this by starting dozens of programs. My own varsity was specialized in textile education, but with HEC hardpressed and in turn, pressing public sector varsities, it had to offer programs in computer sciences and business administration (absolute nonsense). Then the public sector varsities literally contracted the private sector to open (& administer) their sub-campuses all over the country. One cannot even begin to imagine the "quality" of graduates these BUSINESSES are churning out now. This rant might seem out of place but people should know the current state of affairs before they talk about how to fix a broken system. First public schools were destroyed, then public high schools (secondary schools, colleges), and now public sector higher education (undergraduate level) is at a point of no return.

This is going to sound stupid, but from TV i understand that in some countries research has to be peer reviewed and then "signed off" in some western countries? Is this correct? If that is the case, then does this happen with Pakistani researchers and does that not act as a quality gate against poor research?
 

313ghazi

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Yes, we should be optimistic, but our deen also shows us how societies develop for both the better and the worst.

In terms of the best, we know of the Ansar in Madina. Following the Battle of Bu'ath, both the Aus and Khazraj leaderships saw that their present course was untenable. So they strived for something better. They respected the tradition of the Yahuud and took their prophetic claims seriously. So, when some of them came across Rasul'Allah (saw), they basically saw a future in him (saw) and in Islam. That society changed, and in doing so formed the nucleus of our history.

Society will not change until the leadership itself changes how it thinks. I'm not talking about revolution. Rather, I'm talking about people who take their mental space from the status-quo to something that demands ambition, sincerity and vision. Islam requires the individual and collective alike to shift their mental state. Unless our leaders shift their mental state, we will not change. Allah (swt) has shown in Seerah that without mental shift, societies do not change unless someone from outside forces them to change (e.g., Fateh Makkah by Madina).

So, in response to everything you said, it won't land unless our leaders want that stuff to land. If our leaders are not interested in change, then we'll stay in the status-quo. We can just look at the reality and see it play out. Right now, the leaders don't want change, and lo and behold, our society is suffering.

I don't know, maybe the global real estate market needs to crash for our society to wake up. Maybe if the value of those apartments in London and Dubai evaporate, our leaders will have an Ansar-like epiphany and decide to focus on building an active economy.

I think we need to be the leaders ourselves. Those of us who's eyes are open need to take on the responsbility of leadership, even if it's amongst our own family/social circles. If we set a better example, if we show a better type of leadership, if we show what a model citizen should be like and what a model community should be like - we can push change bottom up.

Take you as an example - you started off as a defence enthusiast, you took it a step further, you setup QUWA and those who are in the know respect QUWA and your opinions. You seem to be doing your best to make QUWA an excellent example in it's field. I read an excellent article by Faisal Amjad on achieving excellence in your own field. It's through achieving excellence that people look up to you. When people are looking at you - they should see a role model - thats the time to be a leader.

For those of you reading this post, Faisal is a friend who writes excellent articles - https://faisal-amjad.medium.com/
 

JamD

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This is going to sound stupid, but from TV i understand that in some countries research has to be peer reviewed and then "signed off" in some western countries? Is this correct? If that is the case, then does this happen with Pakistani researchers and does that not act as a quality gate against poor research?
I didn't get a PhD in Pakistan so I am welcome to be corrected but I believe HEC has a requirement that a "foreign" academic must review and approve of your dissertation.

Actually checked right now:
1642778458833.png

1642778494924.png





So it is basically what I thought it was. You just need two professors from these countries that will sign off on your work. I am sure you can see how bad of a policy this is. There's an industry of people that approve Pakistan PhD dissertations on the basis of being professors in third-rate places that just happen to be outside Pakistan.

This isn't a gate against, but a gate for garbage research.
 

313ghazi

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I didn't get a PhD in Pakistan so I am welcome to be corrected but I believe HEC has a requirement that a "foreign" academic must review and approve of your dissertation.

Actually checked right now:
View attachment 810361
View attachment 810362




So it is basically what I thought it was. You just need two professors from these countries that will sign off on your work. I am sure you can see how bad of a policy this is. There's an industry of people that approve Pakistan PhD dissertations on the basis of being professors in third-rate places that just happen to be outside Pakistan.

This isn't a gate against, but a gate for garbage research.

What was the process for your pHD?
 

JamD

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I would like to share some good news; some important people are beginning to wake up to the reality that Pakistan (particularly its major nat sec institutions/IC) is being left far behind: without drastic measures/modernization and BETTER PEOPLE (yes, that means bloody civilians!) working under a MODERN SYSTEM (no ancient yessir culture uncles micromanaging tasks, etc.), there is little hope. Please inbox me (if that capability still exists on this forum) as I would like you to be a part of such reform proposals.
Apkay moon main ghee shakar mithai halwa or siwaiyan.
What was the process for your pHD?
I got mine in the US. The system here is very different and built on trust of the universities, departments, and professors. So really not even the university, not even the department, but my advisor decided what I needed to finish my PhD. I know that system cannot work in Pakistan. The only requirement was that my committee needed to have one member from outside of the aerospace engineering department. That could be from the mechanical engineering department next door or as far as the US Navy or Boeing, up to me.
 

Al_Muhannad

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I know that system cannot work in Pakistan.
Due to lack of trust, and lack of professional ethics. Our society grills unethical traits into children at quite a younger age. Then, who is not affected by this behavior is beaten blue by the academic system. I was personally affected by this thing. My class fellows found the past papers from last years in first semester (showing quality of papers were so damn bullshit that past papers were enough to prepare for them). As expected yours truly got ******. But I learned the game, and by 3rd year for adv. subjects like DSP/Comm. Systems (where past papers did not help), I perfected the art of exploiting the system. I got into germany via the same thing after my pak. research supervisor did a sh*tty job due to his personal grudges/stereotypes.
 

JamD

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Due to lack of trust, and lack of professional ethics. Our society grills unethical traits into children at quite a younger age. Then, who is not affected by this behavior is beaten blue by the academic system. I was personally affected by this thing. My class fellows found the past papers from last years in first semester (showing quality of papers were so damn bullshit that past papers were enough to prepare for them). As expected yours truly got ******. But I learned the game, and by 3rd year for adv. subjects like DSP/Comm. Systems (where past papers did not help), I perfected the art of exploiting the system. I got into germany via the same thing after my pak. research supervisor did a sh*tty job due to his personal grudges/stereotypes.
I have quite a horrendous story of my own from my undergrad. A particular course was taught very badly due to health reasons of the professor and the entire class begged me to do something about it since I was sort of the unofficial class representative. When I wrote an application to the VC about it and the course got cancelled the entire class became my enemy because the badly-taught and cancelled course had everyone getting A's. That taught me to never go out of your way to do good for our people, they will only stab you in the back at the first chance. I'm skipping a LOT of very disturbing details here.
Due to lack of trust, and lack of professional ethics. Our society grills unethical traits into children at quite a younger age. Then, who is not affected by this behavior is beaten blue by the academic system. I was personally affected by this thing. My class fellows found the past papers from last years in first semester (showing quality of papers were so damn bullshit that past papers were enough to prepare for them). As expected yours truly got ******. But I learned the game, and by 3rd year for adv. subjects like DSP/Comm. Systems (where past papers did not help), I perfected the art of exploiting the system. I got into germany via the same thing after my pak. research supervisor did a sh*tty job due to his personal grudges/stereotypes.
And another story is how a FYP supervisor was so pissed that some students didnt come to him for help (even though he was an incompetent fool) that he attended those students presentation only and tried his best to fail them - and he would've succeeded too if those students' work hadn't been totally amazing. Just FYI these students still had this guy on papers as their coadvisor so he was really tanking his own students. This is the state of our professors.
 

Al_Muhannad

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So, in response to everything you said, it won't land unless our leaders want that stuff to land. If our leaders are not interested in change, then we'll stay in the status-quo. We can just look at the reality and see it play out. Right now, the leaders don't want change, and lo and behold, our society is suffering.
how about finding a way to make the ruling people feel the need via soft/hard jolt? If you cannot get a job at PAC, get a job/internship at airBus/Aselsan/Dassault/etc.
As the
FYP supervisor
I went to my professors for FYP ideas. I knew I wanted to work on FPGA + Comm/Image Processing. Only one guy who was not PhD responded positively but said the major burden of finding the idea has to be on the students. There was another professor with links to NESCOM (who offering FPGA based FYP). I contacted him for it, but he did not even hear my first sentence and sent me away.
At that point, my ego and self-respect was thoroughly damaged. Then, my inner Pakistani Rajput woke up. I went through all the german TU unis and their research on FPGA and came up with an idea. Not going to lie, and say that execution was perfect, we barely PASSED the evaluation (my colleagues deserve the credit for putting up with my BS).
 

JamD

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how about finding a way to make the ruling people feel the need via soft/hard jolt? If you cannot get a job at PAC, get a job/internship at airBus/Aselsan/Dassault/etc.
The babus are totally happy if you stay away - they look smarter that way. And they are extremely skilled into making you into one of their own if you stay.
 

Al_Muhannad

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Take you as an example - you started off as a defence enthusiast, you took it a step further, you setup QUWA and those who are in the know respect QUWA and your opinions. You seem to be doing your best to make QUWA an excellent example in it's field.
Just realized that Bilal is our closest relatable to India's Pravin Sawhney (unless there is someone ex-mil I do not know). I like QUWA's content, and learned a lot from it. I used to think why we need F16s if we got JF17s. Did not know anything about MTOW, and other capabilities. And my this journey would not be complete if we did not mention the Indians- ever present with their usual bawaseer.
 

Al_Muhannad

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The babus are totally happy if you stay away - they look smarter that way. And they are extremely skilled into making you into one of their own if you stay.
I stopped blaming the elites. There is a saying that "ghareeb, ghadaar, aur ghulaam ki koi izaat nahi hoti". We lost the right to rule gradually in mughal era and completely in 1857. Our elites are therefore built to control our public. Unless, an average Pakistani starts to shoulder the heavy burden of responsibility, we will be in this quagmire forever. And yes it is true that they make the new outside-incomer adapt the existing status-quo.
On a lighter note, we basically need zarvan like consistent characters but with connections of panzerkiel.

I believe the change will/is coming from average citizens. I give myself an example. I come from a humble family, and would never have come abroad for education/job (temp) if it was not for FB's groups like Scholarship Network/Pak Students in Germany. I got an education that I did not even dream of. I have been some what successful in unlocking my potential. This would not have been possible if it was not the efforts of Waqar Baig. Slow but consistent change.
 

JamD

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I stopped blaming the elites. There is a saying that "ghareeb, ghadaar, aur ghulaam ki koi izaat nahi hoti". We lost the right to rule gradually in mughal era and completely in 1857. Our elites are therefore built to control our public. Unless, an average Pakistani starts to shoulder the heavy burden of responsibility, we will be in this quagmire forever. And yes it is true that they make the new outside-incomer adapt the existing status-quo.
On a lighter note, we basically need zarvan like consistent characters but with connections of panzerkiel.

I believe the change will/is coming from average citizens. I give myself an example. I come from a humble family, and would never have come abroad for education/job (temp) if it was not for FB's groups like Scholarship Network/Pak Students in Germany. I got an education that I did not even dream of. I have been some what successful in unlocking my potential. This would not have been possible if it was not the efforts of Waqar Baig. Slow but consistent change.
Agreed 100% with everything that you have said. I wouldn't have dreamed of being where I am either. I had imagined working in NESCOM or something after undergrad. I could've never afforded US education on my own.
 

Goenitz

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. I give myself an example. I come from a humble family, and would never have come abroad for education/job (temp) if it was not for FB's groups like Scholarship Network/Pak Students in Germany. I got an education that I did not even dream of. I have been some what successful in unlocking my potential. This would not have been possible if it was not the efforts of Waqar Baig. Slow but consistent change.
That person is a bliss for Pak. Anyway, brother! struggle is common thing in Pakis. Alhamdulilah, I am at a good palce right now. Though, less terrifying things happened to me comapred to you and JamD, but the struggle is real. However, I got lucky most of the times. Are you from IST?
 

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