ISLAMABAD: A meeting between Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Secretary Omar Hamid Khan and Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed was held in the latter’s office.
In his opening remarks, Omar Khan stated that BISP, being the country’s premier social safety net programme (already in collaboration with Harvard University and MIT), encourages researchers to use multi-dimensional NSER data for their research, especially related to Social Safety Net (SSN) programmes.
“The research collaboration of BISP and other universities would link youth with various BISP programmes and its different data sets,” he said, adding that BISP’s research wing would facilitate them in designing a policy-oriented research.
The BISP secretary proposed that as scholarships are awarded every year for direct PhD programmes by HEC, it can fund five to seven scholarships annually for students who want to do research on BISP, at national or international level. “BISP would help and support research students throughout their research by providing them office space, free of cost data access, and two years of Internship,” he explained.
HEC chairman, meanwhile, welcomed this initiative and assured his full cooperation to facilitate and share this information with all universities for research collaboration with BISP. He said that the fields identified by BISP’s research wing would provide a new scope of the study, which will be helpful for PhD students.
He ensured that HEC would connect BISP with HEC Library of Publications, 60 Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (ORIC) and 20 Business Incubation Centres established at different universities, leading to a platform for knowledge sharing and graduation of BISP beneficiaries out of poverty.
The two sides also discussed BISP’s idea of establishing a think tank—BISP Research Incubation Cell (BRIC)—on social protection comprising of members from around the world for poverty reduction in Pakistan. HEC agreed to help BISP in approaching universities and research centres in Pakistan as well as US, Europe and the rest of the world for this purpose.
The two sides agreed on working out the details of further collaboration in short, as well as long, term through a working group, which would include members from both of the organisations.
In short term, HEC would offer fellowships and thematic grants to the scholars who were interested in working on BISP.
In long-term, BISP and HEC would collaborate for the establishment of a platform for knowledge sharing and graduation of BISP beneficiaries out of poverty.
Senior officials of BISP and HEC were also present in the meeting.