- VC Gary Armstrong-led Coventry University delegation shows interest in joint research endeavours, academic partnerships, and two-way mobility of faculty and students
ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the Coventry University of London called on Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri and discussed feasible collaborations between the two institutions.
Welcoming the delegation, Dr Banuri briefed them about the HEC’s initiatives and achievements regarding promotion of the higher education in Pakistan. He said that international collaboration would be helpful in resolving local issues. He stressed the need for research-based on problem-solving approach in order to help address the country’s problems.
The delegation comprised Vice-Chancellor Gary Armstrong, Prof Richard Dashwood, and Dr Farzana Aslam. The delegation shared the strength of the Coventry University as well as the success of the industry-university linkages. They dwelt in detail on the level of excellence in their engineering, research centres.
Apart from serious involvement and funding from the industry, it was revealed that the government investment is also a major part in the uplift of the university. The Coventry University works on the premise that teaching and learning are deeply connected with the industry, they informed.
Dr Farzana Aslam explained the importance of embedded employability which was a main feature of their programme where each graduate is taught skills for employment making every student fit for work. They also train their students to apply for placement in all over the world, where students are motivated with a suitable academic which results in transfer of skills for a year.
Dr Banuri expressed interest in the university’s achievements and stressed the need for bilateral collaboration for promotion of higher education and research. He shed light on the HEC split PhD programme under which Pakistani scholars will spend two or three months every year in the university for research and other activities. The HEC will provide monthly stipend and discounted bench fee during the (scholars) stay in the UK, he said.
He said that Pakistan would welcome support in capacity-building, knowledge and technology transfer, and research assessment mechanisms. Earlier, the delegation held a series of meetings with HEC’s senior management and heads of various divisions as well as representatives of selected universities for interaction on the joint research endeavours, academic partnerships, two-way mobility of faculty and students, transnational education and teaching excellence framework.
The delegation highlighted that the research at the Coventry University was based on five key themes namely safety and security, intelligent products and processes, creative cultures, sustainability and resilience and health and well-being. The university has over 1000 researchers (increasing to 1500 by 2021) working in 15 challenge-led interdisciplinary research centres.
In addition to external research funding, the British university is committed to contribute investment of over £120 million in research programmes between 2014 and 2021. In their meeting at the Research and Development (R&D) Division, HEC gave a brief overview on the initiatives, functions, achievements and two initiatives for the proposed Pak-UK Gateway project namely the development of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and the Mega Sectoral Research Grant.
Possibilities of placement of the PhD scholars in various priority areas at the Coventry University also came under discussion and the delegation was informed that HEC has already availed partial fee waiver from many UK universities. Moreover, the capacity-building opportunities available for the Pakistani faculty, quality assurance implementation mechanism, and ranking criteria for the universities were also discussed in the meetings with the heads of the HEC divisions.