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

COMSATS Celebrates World Science Day 2015

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The Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), in collaboration with the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) celebrated the World Science Day for peace and Development 2015, November 10, 2015, by holding a discussion forum on ‘Science for a Sustainable Future’, at the latter’s premises in Islamabad. Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, Chairman Board of Governors, National Centre for Physics, Islamabad, and former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Science and Technology, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest of the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad recalled the efforts made by him to have the World Science Day designated as one of the International Days observed by the UN in order to highlight significance of science for the betterment of society. Elaborating on the idea of the benefits of science for development, Dr. Ahmed emphasized that the modern scientific and technological developments can help societies to duly utilize the renewable energy sources, like hyrdo, solar, wind and geo-thermal, for reducing dependence on fossil fuels, to achieve cost effective and environment friendly outcomes. He was of the opinion that pure and social sciences should be taught and applied simultaneously for achieving sustainable development. He also urged the need to harness the potential of young scientists and supporting their work to help prepare them to take up future challenges. Dr. Ahmad praised COMSATS for its leadership role in regularly celebrating the World Science Day in Pakistan, and appreciated the organization’s continuous pursuit of its mission of promotion of science for sustainable development.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. I.E. Qureshi, expressed his desire to continue holding the World Science Day celebrations in partnership with relevant organizations in order to sensitize policy makers, politicians and the public at large on the role of science-led development. Expressing his consciousness of the darker aspects of application of S&T, he deemed the orientation of the international day towards Peace and Development very significant. He highlighted the significance of this year’s Day with respect to it falling between two significant events relating to sustainable development – adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly on 25th September 2015 and the upcoming 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Paris, France, from 30 November – 11 December 2015. He informed that COP21 would aim at achieving a legally binding and universal agreement on climate to keep global warming below 2°C. He pointed out the contradiction of the World Bank estimates that, by 2030, over a hundred million of the world’s population would become poor, and the SDG 1 to end poverty and hunger in all its forms everywhere by 2030. He reminded the participants of the meeting about the Foreign Aid related clause of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda that aims to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for official development assistance, and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent for least developed countries, and looked forward to seeing how it pans out in the long haul.

The President of PAS, Dr. Anwar Nasim, noted that the role of the Academy has always been to sensitize the political leadership about the centrality of science towards social and economic progress. He highlighted that science has overall remained grossly under projected as a driving force for development. He opined that amid the public expressions of recognizing science as a vehicle for socio-economic development by political leaderships and decision-makers of the developing countries, very little is being done to back these statements. He noted, in the context of Pakistan, that problems faced by the country are well-understood, and so are their solutions. However, the lack of implementation is the sole reason for lack of improvement. Dr. Nasim said that World Science Day is an opportunity to make a commitment to encourage young scientists to take a leadership role in future. He urged the developing countries to make stronger and concerted efforts to beat the odds impeding the suitable growth of their S&T profiles. He pledged the Academy’s support for any useful initiative aiding the efforts made in this direction. He also appreciated COMSATS Science Diplomacy Programme launched in 2014, as a major initiative for advocacy of science.

The technical deliberations of the event comprised of three statements on: ‘Status of Science in a contemporary Pakistani Society’ by Dr. Ayesha Razzaque, an Independent Education Consultant; ‘The Case for Next Generation of Life Sciences’ by Dr. Faisal F. Khan, Director, Institute of Integrative Biology, CECOS University of Information Technology and Emerging Sciences; and ‘Energy Options for a Sustainable Future’, by Dr. M. Pervaz, Director-General, Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan.

Dr. Razzaque presented a case for creating a science literate society based on the fact that scientifically literate societies make informed and sustainable choices, particularly in areas of healthcare, energy, and environment. She advocated that basic knowledge of science and scientific method should be widespread in a society as populations that are not science savvy to some extent are more gullible to fraudulent practices. While emphasizing on educating the school children to be taught science with due consideration of its practical uses in life, she also urged that efforts should be made for all adults to be able to retain scientific thinking and approaches in their everyday life and decision making. In this regard, she emphasized the role of media for diffusing the necessary knowledge in the society.

Dr. Faisal Khan asserted the urgent need to encourage start-ups to bridge the gap between academia and industry in Pakistan. He stressed that education should not only be about enrolment and retention in primary schools, and should help address concerns related to the value chain keeping in view the needs of higher education and employment. He highlighted the poor quality of science education, redundant teaching methods, the pre-medical and pre-engineering bifurcation, and lack of incentives as policy problems that need to be addressed to promote technology transfer and entrepreneurship at later stages. He opined that developing countries cannot take on science for the sake of science alone, but should be able to derive economic benefit from it to meet their development needs. In this regard, he elaborated how the developed countries have been benefitting from emerging trends in sciences. With reference to Biology, he shared how investing in genome technology, big data, and integrative biology have enabled nations and organizations to financially benefit at exponential rates. He considered emerging trends related to Synthetic Biology as one such opportunity for Pakistan and urged for the relevant quarters to take immediate measures to optimally benefit from it. He underscored the need to revise the science and technology strategy and rationalizing the priority areas based on their socio-economic benefits as well as to suitably tap the potential of the technological revolution worldwide. He strongly urged interdisciplinarity in teaching and application of science.

Dr. Pervaz stressed the need to build capacities to utilize indigenous energy resources and improve relevant technology base. He stated that developing countries need to adopt more rational approaches towards production, distribution and consumption of energy. He advocated technology transfer and technical cooperation among the countries, and diversification of energy supply as means for achieving reduced energy imports. With respect to the United Nations Conference on Environment & Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1992), he highlighted the social, economic and environmental dimensions of energy sector in Pakistan. He stressed on cutting down energy losses from production to distribution, diversification of energy options based on the local resources of an area, and reduced import dependence, as means for achieving sustainability. Moreover, he called for developing and making renewable energy sources more affordable and efficient in order to secure clean energy options for future generations.

The statements were followed by a discussion session moderated by Dr. Anwar Nasim. The participants of this session included, Dr. Manzoor Soomro, President ECO Science Foundation; Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, Secretary-General of PAS; Dr. Hamid Saleem, Former Director-General, National Centre for Physics, as well as COMSATS’ Science Ambassadors, Dr. Arshad Saleem Bhatti, and Dr. Athar Hussain. Also present on the occasion were other officials of COMSATS Secretariat: Mr. Tajammul Hussain, Advisor-Programmes; Mr. Abdul Majid Qureshi, Research Scholar and Coordinator for Word Science Day; Ms. Huma Balouch, Sr. Assistant Director-Programmes and Coordinator for World South-South Cooperation Day.

Highlighting the importance of ethical aspects of science, Dr. Qureshi informed the participants that Dr. Shinwari has received the UNESCO’s Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science 2015, and endorsed his views given in a recent interview that neglecting science itself is unethical. Dr. Nasim stressed the need for making societies science conscious and considered documentation of good ideas a small but useful measure in this direction. He urged the concerned quarters and individuals to make efforts to promote science in the country, despite the hardships involved. Dr. Razzaque highlighted the need for updating scientific curricula to help the students in understanding the practical implications of science. Dr. Faisal stated that there is a need to revisit the existing R&D and S&T related strategies and devise a roadmap better suited for indigenous needs. He also urged the relevant government institutions to ensure due projection of science through electronic media to reach out to masses, and suggested necessary lobbying and thrust building in this regard. He believed that the disproportionate focus on primary education should be revisited to address other important issues like technology transfer between academia and industry. He stressed that academia should make efforts to bring out products and processes for commercialization, apart from publications and articles.

Dr. Qureshi was of the view that scientists have the responsibility to be more interactive and vocal outside their community as well to sensitize the masses and governments about the importance of science. He believed that the politicians only pay lip-service to the importance of strengthening S&T sector, and do not pay sufficient attention to administrative facilitation and financial resources to achieve the desired objectives. Dr. Shinwari considered Global Innovation Index and Human Development Index two important parameters for nations to objectively evaluate their own standing. He deemed the trends of increasing the number of publications a threat to creativity and novelty in scientific research and urged the relevant institutions to take measures to discourage such trends. He opined that countries should transcend the concept of ‘national interest’ in favour of ‘human interest’, which is in line with the spirit of the World Science Day for Peace and Development. Dr. Saleem urged the scientific community to adhere to the values of intellectual honesty. Dr. Bhatti was of the view that reversing brain drain will only be beneficial if necessary measures are taken for necessary infrastructure building to accommodate the homecoming scientists and benefit from what they have to offer. Endorsing the views shared during the discussion, Dr. Nasim advised that debate on the important issues raised should continue in future for achieving tangible outcomes.

The event concluded on the revitalized pledge to continue efforts in individual and institutional capacities for promotion of science at various levels. The participants resolved to voice concerns of scientists at appropriate quarters in an effort to develop a political will supportive of a science-based agenda and called for enhanced efforts on part of the government in deploying resources to address the state of Science and Technology in the country. In this regard, the apathy of media to project relevant issues was noted with dismay.

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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