Lahore - Pakistan has abundance of finest human resources but still the country is struggling, indicating issues somewhere in planning to take this country to the next level to lead the world. However, the only disciplined institute (army)we have in the country has shown a real progress, which has developed technologies for the betterment of the country.

We need same discipline in our public sector.  For that we need to have proper planning with clear goals about the future of the country. No country can progress without conducting the research to cater the needs of the country. Therefore, we need to take proper steps, one of such steps required is to establish national research planning commission.

Why is this needed? At the moment, there are various research funding agencies, the likes of HEC, PSF, PARB, etc. and there is a good amount of research being conducted in the leading institutions of the country funded by these bodies and by many other such local and international bodies.

Many times, there is duplication in research and at most other time basic research is done. Well, we can argue that the basic research is also important. There are both schools of thoughts that the research should be driven by the researcher as what he or she feels to be done, while there is a second school of thought that the research work to be carried out should be directed and the funding agency should frame their agenda as how and what they want to achieve, so they prioritize and announce the fundings accordingly.

However, a lot of financial resources are being burnt with no proper output. Therefore, there is a need to establish the national research planning commission, which should be the main centre (commission) of the country.

This commission should do planning as what the country needs, e.g., a diagnostic kit for the diagnosis of COVID-19 or the vaccine for hepatitis or papilloma virus, or to explore the key factors of unrest in Baluchistan, or the reasons behind the death of people in certain remote areas of the country, etc.

Thus, there is a need to have many wings of this national research planning commission including sociology, engineering, archaeology, animal sciences, crop sciences, medical sciences, etc.

This commission should do planning on various aspects by inviting experts from different fields and set the research agenda of the country.

This commission can even arrange conferences/debates on various areas to frame its agenda on a particular aspect, other than just calling the experts, as most times the best ideas come from the young brains and the experienced hands can then trim the ideas.

The bodies like the national research commission are there in many countries, where the research planning is being carried out. This body should not only do planning but it should also monitor the research being conducted. Furthermore, it should evaluate the research for some kind of national award or scrutinize the scientists and blacklist or debar or make the scientists accountable if fake research is being conducted.

Thus, the tasks of this commission can be framed, and SOPs and TOR developed.

However, the main thrust of this commission will have to be the development of the country through R&D by setting the targets.

Thus, this commission will provide direction to the funding agencies and the funding agencies should float the call for proposals, these all proposals through these funding agencies should come to this national commission where those should be thoroughly examined and duplication removed, rather the best scientist(s) is chosen and given the task, as sometime the proposal submitted to

A funding agency is the best based on the reputation or stature of the scientist’s involved, while the similar proposal submitted to B funding agency may end up with less plausible result.

The aim of drafting this article is to let the Government agencies or planning commission to think about it. We know that these things are being discussed and are taken care, but we need a separate institution for the same to take this country to the next level.

The idea has been floated and we know that the country has the best of the best’s brains available who can help in establishing this setup at the national level.

 

Writer: Prof. Dr. Muhammad Tariq Javed, Principal Officer (Medical and health services), Former Chairman Department of Pathology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

Co-writers: Faran Tariq and Hasaan Tariq, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.