Leading figures from Pakistan’s top universities will be in Scotland this week (13 – 19 January) to seal a major new academic collaboration between the two countries.
A top level delegation will spend six days at the University of St Andrews finalising a new postgraduate PhD partnership designed to build academic capacity in Pakistan and strengthen Scottish links with that country.
The initiative is a joint venture between St Andrews and its partner universities in Pakistan – the University of the Punjab, Government College University and Quaid-I-Azam University.
If successful, St Andrews hopes the model will allow other Scottish universities to forge similar partnerships with Higher Education institutions across Pakistan.
The development will put in place strategic links and new jointly supervised PhD programmes awarded by St Andrews and its partners in Pakistan. Students will normally spend two years in Pakistan and one in St Andrews.
Programmes will be based on joint research projects arising from the universities’ shared expertise in subjects such as Anthropology, Economics, English, History, International Relations, Mathematics and Middle Eastern, Caucasian and South Asian Studies.
The collaboration was developed by the University’s Advisor to the Principal, Dr David Corner, who suggested the possibility of partnership to the Executive Director of the Pakistan¿s Higher Education Commission during a visit in early 2007. Dr Corner had already successfully developed partnerships in the Sciences between St Andrews and universities in South Africa and believed that a similar programme could work in Pakistan.
He said, “Pakistan has, in recent years, significantly increased public investment in Higher Education, with a high priority given to developing its social sciences, arts and humanities, with the belief that this will provide significant social, economic and cultural benefits.
“Before 2003 however, provision and support in these fields was sporadic and there was a mountain to climb when the Higher Education Commission was established in that year. Since then, it has successfully introduced a range of relevant initiatives relating to the enhancement of research activity, as well as a 24m rupee funded Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.”
In the months following his initial visit, Dr Corner worked with the HEC to develop a set of partnerships with particular academic units in Pakistan, strategically linking St Andrews’ areas of expertise with theirs.
It is envisaged that the partnership will not only create the first joint St Andrews-Pakistan PhDs, but fruitful academic exchanges, joint research projects and post-doctoral appointments.
Dr Corner continued, “The collaboration is designed to ensure that gifted students will be able to take up academic positions in Pakistan at the end of their joint PhD programme. We believe this is a highly significant initiative and hope that in the future it can be rolled out to other institutions in this country and Pakistan.”
The visit to St Andrews will involve a series of workshops, talks and visits aimed at introducing the partner universities to the research environment at St Andrews. The delegation will also attend a dinner hosted by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy of Science & Letters.
The event is jointly supported by the University of St Andrews, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
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Ref: pakistan partnership 140108
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