Under the International Research Support Initiative Programme (IRSIP), the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has awarded 1,647 scholarships to PhD scholars studying in higher education institutions of Pakistan for undertaking research in top ranking universities of 37 academically advanced countries.
These foreign scholarships have been awarded in all the major disciplines including physical sciences, agriculture and veterinary sciences, biological and medical sciences, social sciences, management sciences and engineering. The information was shared during the 22nd meeting of IRSIP award committee which was presided over by HEC Executive Director Professor Dr. Sohail H. Naqvi.
The meeting was apprised that under this programme, the HEC is offering six-month research fellowship abroad to full time PhD students enrolled in Pakistan to enhance their research capabilities. It is of vital importance that the doctoral studies carried out in Pakistan are of a standard that is at par with any international reputed institution. This is only possible if candidates are provided with adequate support in research projects. The indigenous PhD students sometimes face problems in research due to paucity of resources therefore the scheme is helping to provide doctoral students exposure internationally so they could carry out research projects of high standard.
It was also informed that the scheme is also assisting ongoing Indigenous PhD programmes by providing a mechanism for PhD scholars to travel abroad and conduct research in academically advanced countries. This is providing exposure to the PhD scholars, which will enhance the quality of research that they will be conducting in Pakistan.
The programme has also been greatly helpful to develop academic linkages between Pakistani and leading foreign institutions. The fellowship package covers travel, bench fee and living expenditure.
As an outcome of this programme, the number of international research publications by Pakistani scholars has been increased from 304 to 662 with 117 per cent increase while the number of local publications has also been increased from 380 to 552 with 45 per cent increase.