Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

COMSATS-ISESCO-PAS Regional Workshop on Biosafety and Biosecurity in Life Sciences Research inaugurated

Home   /   COMSATS-ISESCO-PAS Regional Workshop on Biosafety and Biosecurity in Life Sciences Research inaugurated

The Regional Workshop on Biosafety and Biosecurity in Life Sciences Research, Islamabad, was inaugurated by the Federal Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, Mr. Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, on April 26, 2016, at the premises of Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS). The event is being jointly organized by COMSATS, ISESCO, and PAS. The inaugural ceremony was attended by over 170 participants that included academicians, students, science administrators and media personnel.

Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary General PAS, Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, introduced the Academy as a supreme body of Pakistan promoting science in the country. He shared the importance of the dates of the event in relation to the DNA Day (25th April) that commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953. He highlighted the emerging technologies in life sciences, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and more recently human gene editing. In view of the rapid advancements in the latter, he shared the possibility of soon developing a human devoid of any human gene template. In view of such radical trends, he called for strong ethical guidelines to check and monitor research work in life sciences to safeguard the moral fabric of the society.

The ISESCO Representative based in UAE, Dr. AbdulAzeez Hameed Ali, conveyed the greetings of Director General ISESCO, Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, and thanked COMSATS and PAS for collaborating with ISESCO for co-organizing this workshop on a crucial theme of current interest, and appreciated their achievements over the years. Dr. Ali thankfully acknowledged the hospitality of the Pakistani Government and institutions provided to foreign participants and speakers of the event. Highlighting the key objectives of ISESCO, he noted that the organization’s efforts spanning over thirty years for promotion of Science by holding workshops and seminars within and outside the Islamic World. He considered the event an opportunity to sensitize the relevant quarters for taking necessary measures and launch campaigns on relevant emerging issues.

In his address, the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. I.E. Qureshi, took stock of the rapid developments in life sciences research and highlighted the theme of the event and relevant issues in the developed and the developing world. He noted with satisfaction that many relevant individuals and organizations were participating in the event and recalled the efforts made by the organizers to invite representatives from government officials, R&D organizations and universities. He was pleased to note the participation of the life sciences students as he deemed them the custodians of morals and traditions in the future research, and hoped that they would be able to sensitize their circles about lab safety, biosafety, and biosecurity. He appreciated ISESCO and PAS for their collaboration and highlighted their mandates and their relevance to COMSATS. He recalled his recent meeting with the Director General ISESCO in Morocco, when the latter had termed COMSATS as “the most trusted partner”. He stated that this partnership works towards tangible gains for common Member States and recounted some important themes in which both the organizations have held joint activities in the recent years. These included serial/thematic events on: ICTs for Agriculture, Health and Education; National Innovation Systems; and Internet Security. Dr. Qureshi made a special mention of the upcoming 8th Review Conference of Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) that addresses weapons of mass destruction based on biological and toxin agents. He noted with concern some missing aspects in BWC, including the lack of universality especially with respect to the Middle East, and verification regime. On a related note, he recalled his participation in the 6th BWC, where developed and developing countries seemed at odds on some important issues, such as those concerning the Article X related to cooperation for biotechnology research for peaceful purpose. Referring to some trends and technologies in life sciences, such as CRISPR being used to tailor the human genetic code, he considered it important to have relevant legal obligations for scientists and research organizations working in sensitive areas of life sciences. Thanking the Federal Secretary, who also chairs Pakistan’s National Biosafety Committee, for presiding over the inaugural ceremony, he hoped that Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change would benefit from the technical findings and deliberations of the workshop.

Mr. Akif delivered the inaugural address on behalf of the Federal Minister. He highlighted the threat and opportunities in the life sciences research and informed that a handful of global corporations, research institutions, and governments could soon hold patents on the all human genes cells, organs, and tissues, as well as on most of the known species of micro-organisms, plants, crops and animals, acquiring monopoly over major resources of the world. Referring to some positive trends, he noted the potential of tissue-culture in giant bacteria baths to obtain increasing volumes of food and fiber grown indoors, helping to achieve optimization of time, space and money. He called for efforts to develop a National Biosecurity Plan to address concerns regarding Pakistan’s preparedness for bio-threats in various sectors including environment, agriculture, and health. He pledged his Ministry’s support for any initiative in this regard. As the Chairperson of National Biosafety Committee of Pakistan, he appreciated the theme of the event and congratulated the participating speakers and experts for recognizing its importance. He congratulated COMSATS, ISESCO and PAS for co-organizing this workshop on a scientific theme which he deemed an important policy area.

The technical deliberations of the three-day workshop are spread over seven sessions covering issues, research and findings related to: Biosafety and lab safe handling; Biosecurity; and Bioethics. The event has participation from over 40 government institutions, R&D organizations, and universities from 20 cities of Pakistan, as well as speakers from Kazakhstan, Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, USA, and Nigeria. The event is also featuring poster presentations based on research related to the theme of the workshop.

Upcoming Events

Dec
12
Wed
2018
Seminar on SDGs Implementation: The Collaboration among Universities
Dec 12 all-day

[ Event Flyer ]

The Inter-University Consortium for the Promotion of Social-Sciences (IUCPSS), the largest alliance of more than 45 private and public universities, is launching its latest initiative entitled the ‘International Student Convention & Expo 2019: Securing Our Future’, an expo that runs from 10-13 December, 2018 at the Pak-China Friendship Center, in Islamabad, Pakistan. The event would provide an opportunity to Pakistani youth by providing a platform for interaction, networking and a range of diverse learning activities spread across the three days.

The event comprises of participation from 100+ Universities and Vice-Chancellors, 30+ countries, and 300+ international students to align youth efforts with global challenges and demands to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to channelize the youth to attain the SDGs, IUCPSS in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) and the Commission of Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) is holding a Seminar entitled ‘SDGs Implementation: The Collaboration among Universities’, on 12th December, 2018.

The Seminar would be an open forum to formulate clusters for the realization of the SDGs amongst the participating Universities, comprising of interactive brainstorming among the participants with an exclusive focus on the 17 SDGs. The session would initiate a process where the participants would voluntarily align their respective institutions with one or more than one SDGs and show commitment in formulating a plan with other participating Universities in the same areas of interest. Universities’ involvement in this event at the highest level will provide roadmap to the educational institutions in Pakistan towards achieving these goals. The seminar would be marked with the presence of leading figures, experts, and policy and decision makers to share their ideas on the realization of the SDGs.

CONTACT PERSONS

Mr. M. Bilal Chouhan
Director (A&E)
COMSATS Secretariat, Islamabad
Tel: (051) 9214515-7
Email: bilal@comsats.org

Ms. Rida Bokhari
Sr. Programme Officer
COMSATS Secretariat, Islamabad
Tel: (051) 9214515-7 Ext. 216
Email: rida.bokhari@comsats.org

Dec
17
Mon
2018
11th National Training Workshop on Repair and Maintenance of Scientific Instruments/ Equipment in Universities, Research Institutions, and Small Scale Industries, Gebze, Turkey
Dec 17 – Dec 21 all-day

[ Flyer ]

INTRODUCTION

Scientific Research and Development activities are the most effective and sustainable tools in achieving long term national economic growth for the developing countries. A large proportion of this research is customarily conducted in the educational and industrial organizations, both in public and private sectors. The pace of research largely depends on the skills of the scientists and technicians, and the availability of well-maintained scientific instruments. In developing countries, lack of planning, in purchase and management of inventories and severe shortage of technical expertise related to repair and maintenance of the same greatly hampers smooth progress of research programmes. In this context, the teaching and research institutions suffer more from delayed research output and the industrial units face production losses.

Unfortunately, the concerned management in most of the developing countries, including Islamic Countries, do not pay enough attention to establish maintenance facilities, resulting in discarding a large number of very expensive instruments and equipment. These losses can be averted by spending a fraction of money on the effective and preventive repair and maintenance processes as compared to the costs incurred due to time losses and procurement of the new instruments and by providing relevant training to the operators, concerned engineers and technicians of such instruments, equipment, etc. There is a great need to develop an indigenous capacity to repair and maintain the scientific equipment in the developing countries, since inviting foreign experts for this purpose is time-consuming and economically unviable. Manpower adept in repairing and maintaining scientific equipments of all sorts used in the teaching and research institutions and industries can ensure uninterrupted research work, and thus lead to an overall socioeconomic development of a country.

To enable Islamic countries to achieve technological self – reliance in setting up of repair and maintenance facilities and to reduce technological dependence on foreign experts, national training workshop is being organized by the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS); in cooperation with Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO); and TUBITAK, Republic of Turkey. The national workshop entitled “Repair and Maintenance of Scientific Instruments/ Equipment in Universities, Research Institutions and Small Scale Industries” will take place in Republic of Turkey, from December 17-21, 2018. The Workshop is intended to highlight the issues/problems related to the maintenance of scientific engineering equipments used in universities, research institutions and small scale industries. Two experts from Pakistan would provide hands-on training to the participants of the workshop for upgrading their skills and enhancing their capacities in repairing, maintaining and troubleshooting important scientific engineering equipments in their organizations. The workshop encompassing interactive lectures and practical training is a part of the COMSATS-ISESCO series, under which similar events were held in Kazakhstan (2017), Nigeria (2016), Ghana (2013 & 2015), Oman (2015), Iran (2014), Sudan (2013, 2005 & 2004),Tunisia (2012), Egypt (2011), Senegal (2010) and Syria (2005). These workshops have benefited over 420 scientists, engineers and technicians by building their expertise and capacity to indigenously repair and maintain scientific instruments used in the labs of R&D institutions as well as small-scale industries in their respective countries.

OBJECTIVES

The workshop has the following objectives:

  • To demonstrate the process of repairing the defective instruments by the experts;
  • To provide hands-on training to the participants for improving their skills for independently maintaining and repairing the scientific instruments;
  • To update the participants’ knowledge on the latest techniques involved in the operation of scientific instruments;
  • To acquaint the participants with the functioning of scientific instruments through need-based training, as well as documentation of the repair and maintenance activities;
  • To update the trainees’ knowledge on changing and new technologies in scientific equipments;
  • To facilitate information-exchange among scientists, researchers, technicians, service engineers, and industrialists for enhancing the existing scientific capacity.

LANGUAGE

The working language for the Workshop will be English.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Professional technicians, scientists, researchers and service engineers from academic and research institutions, hospitals and industries of Republic of Turkey are encouraged to register for the national workshop.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Mme EL ALAMI Wafaa
Supervisor of ISESCO Centre for Promotion of
Scientific Research
ISESCO
Avenue des F.A.R. – Hay Ryad
B.P. 2275 – C.P.10104
Rabat – Kingdom of Morocco
Tel : +212 (0) 537 56 60 52/53
Fax: +212 (0) 537 56 60 12/13
E-mail: icpsr@isesco.org.ma

Mr. Tajammul Hussain
Advisor (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2 Islamabad – Pakistan
Phone: +92-51-9204892, 9214515-7 Fax: +92-51-9216539
Email: tajammul@comsats.org

Mr. Nisar Ahmad
Deputy Director (Systems)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2 Islamabad – Pakistan.
Tel: (+92-51) 9214515-17 Fax: (+ 92-51) 9216539
Email: nisar@comsats.org

Dr. A. Ömer ALTAN
Head of Department
International Relations Dept.
TÜBITAK Ulusal Metroloji Enstitüsü
Baris Mah., Dr. Zeki Acar Cad. No.1
41470 Gebze Kocaeli
Ph +90 262 679 5000 x 2901; Fax +90 262 679 5001
Email: omer.altan@tubitak.gov.tr

Dec
23
Sun
2018
8th COMSATS‐ISESCO-INIT International Workshop on “Internet Security: Enhancing Information Exchange Safeguards”, State of Qatar
Dec 23 – Dec 27 all-day

[ Flyer in PDF format ]

BACKGROUND

Information Technology is now considered a necessity for the general public and organizations in various sectors. However, it presents various risks in the form of cyber-attacks and has, therefore, evoked many privacy and security concerns. The frequency of cyber-attacks is considerably increasing every year, and the nature of security risks is constantly evolving. Therefore, effective surveillance networks are needed to ensure that the information and networks are protected from attacks, damage and unauthorized access, through the use of appropriate technologies, processes and practices.

In view of the above, the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS); the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO); and the Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) took the initiative of spreading awareness on this important field in the developing countries, particularly in their Member States, by means of organizing a series of training workshops. The earlier events of this series were held in Syria (2011), Jordan (2012), Tunisia (2013), Tanzania (2014), Turkey (2015), Morocco (2016) and Kazakhstan (2017).

INTRODUCTION

The eighth five-day International Workshop on ‘Internet Security: Enhancing Information Exchange Safeguards’ is being jointly organized by ISESCO; COMSATS; INIT, on 23-27 December 2018, in Qatar.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The workshop aims to provide a forum to the young scientists/professionals from the developing countries to learn about the latest advancements in the field of Internet security; promote the use of state-of-the-art technologies for protection of network and network-accessible resources from different types of malicious attacks; and identify effective Internet/information security solutions for general public, governmental organizations and commercial ventures through rigorous risk-analyses and security management approaches.

FORMAT

The workshop includes technical presentations, tutorials and hands-on training sessions by a group of renowned subject experts. It will cover major aspects of Internet/information security, ranging from theoretical understanding of cryptographic algorithms to practical subtleties of the network systems, and will also address the related managerial and technical issues. Moreover, a handful of network security tools will be demonstrated to provide opportunities to the participants to update their knowledge-base and interact with experts for further collaborative undertakings.

KEY AREAS

Following are the key topics of the workshop:

  • Information Security Risk Assessment/Management
  • Network Security: Modern Attacks, Evasion Techniques and Defenses
  • Malicious Code Analysis and Detection
  • Measuring Security
  • Ethical Issues of ICT Security
  • Organizational Security Standards, Policies and Guidelines
  • Cryptographic Techniques for Network Security
  • Web Security
  • Social Network Security
  • Cloud Computing Security
  • Digital Forensics Procedures and Tools

TARGETED INDIVIDUALS

Young researchers, practitioners, academicians, executives, system administrators, system programmers, and students working in the field of Internet/information security and cryptography are invited to participate in the workshop.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

The workshop is expected to enable the participants to:

  • Understand Organizational Security Structure and their particular security requirements;
  • Analyzing and mitigating the Information security risks;
  • Understand network protocols, models, topologies and related security threats;
  • Understand major modern-day cryptographic algorithms and protocols;
  • Understand how to send secure emails;
  • Use Full Disk Encryption (FDE) tools, including TrueCrypt;
  • Understand the anti-virus, anti-spyware tools and firewalls;
  • Understand the working of major web-security applications;
  • Understand the working of contemporary biometrics systems;
  • Understand organizational security measures, risk assessment tools and techniques and implement appropriate policies and procedures for a given organization;
  • Understand different aspects of cyber security; and
  • Understand and use various types of ethical hacking tools to secure the networks, including: network sniffing, spoofing and poisoning; port scanning and vulnerability analysis; offline and online password attacks; buffer overflow; and root-kits and trojans.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Partial or full financial support will be provided to selected foreign participants from Member States of COMSATS, ISESCO and INIT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

ISESCO:
Dr. Muhammad Nabeel Anwar
Director (Science and Technology)
Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)
Avenue des F.A.R, P.O. Box 2275, PC Code 10104
Hay Ryad-Rabat, Morocco.
Tel: +212-537-566052/53; Fax: +212-537-566012/13
Email: sciences@isesco.org.ma,

Dr. Aicha Bammoun
Science Directorate
Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)
Avenue des F.A.R, P.O. Box 2275, PC Code 10104,
Hay Ryad-Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco.
Tel: +212- 5-37566052-53; Fax: +212- 5-37566012-13
Email: aicha_bammoun@yahoo.fr; abammoun@isesco.org.ma

INIT:
Mr. Tahir Naeem
Executive Director
Inter Islamic Network on InformationTechnology (INIT)
COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI)
Park Road, Chak Shehzad, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92-51-90495169; Fax: +92-51-9247006
Email: tnaeem@comsats.edu.pk

Mr. M. Atiq ur Rehman
Sr. Program Officer
Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT)
COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI)
Park Road, Chak Shehzad, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92-51-90495024; Fax: +92-51-9247006
Email: muhammad_atiq@comsats.edu.pk

COMSATS:
Mr. Tajammul Hussain
Advisor (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92-51-9204892; Fax: +92-51-9216539
Email: tajammul@comsats.org

Mr. Farhan Ansari
Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters,
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92 51 9214515-7; Fax: +92 51 9216539
Email: farhan@comsats.org

Mar
11
Mon
2019
Workshop on Water Resources: Expected Crises and Strategies of Predomination, at National Research Centre, Egypt
Mar 11 – Mar 12 all-day

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