Pakistan's Research Output Growth Among the World's Fastest in 2018

Pakistan is one of the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018, according to Nature Magazine. The publication reports that the "global production of scientific papers hit an all-time high this year...with emerging economies rising fastest".

Countries With Biggest Rises in Research Output. Source: Nature

Research Output:

Pakistan ranked first or second depending on whether one accepts the text or the graphic (above) published by Nature.  The text says Egypt had 21% growth while the graph shows Pakistan with 21% growth. Here's an excerpt of the text: "Emerging economies showed some of the largest increases in research output in 2018, according to estimates from the publishing-services company Clarivate Analytics. Egypt and Pakistan topped the list in percentage terms, with rises of 21% and 15.9%, respectively. ...China’s publications rose by about 15%, and India, Brazil, Mexico and Iran all saw their output grow by more than 8% compared with 2017".

Scientific Output:

Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (Weighted Functional Count) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. In the same period, India's WFC has increased from 850.97 in 2013 to 935.44 in 2017. India's global ranking has improved from 13 in 2013 to 11 in 2017.

Top 10 Pakistan Institutions in Scientific Output. Source: Nature Index
Pakistan's Global Ranking:

Pakistan ranks 40 among 161 countries for quality adjusted scientific output for year 2017 as reported by Nature Index 2018.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36. US leads with almost 15,800, followed by China's 7,500, Germany 3,800, UK 3,100 and Japan 2,700.

Nature Index:

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research. The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

The Nature Index includes primary research articles published in a group of high-quality science journals. The journals included in the Nature Index are selected by a panel of active scientists, independently of Nature Research. The selection process reflects researchers’ perceptions of journal quality, rather than using quantitative measures such as Impact Factor. It is intended that the list of journals amounts to a reasonably consensual upper echelon of journals in the natural sciences and includes both multidisciplinary journals and some of the most highly selective journals within the main disciplines of the natural sciences. The journals included in the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

Pakistan vs BRICS:

In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

Top Asian Universities:

British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.  Other South Asian universities figuring in the QS top universities report are 75 from India, 6 from Bangladesh and 4 from Sri Lanka.

In terms of the number of universities ranking in Asia's top 500, Pakistan with its 23 universities ranks second in South Asia and 7th among 17 Asian nations topped by China with 112, Japan 89, India 75, South Korea 57, Taiwan 36, Malaysia 26, Pakistan 23, Indonesia 22, Thailand 19, Philippines 8, Hong Kong 7, Vietnam 7, Bangladesh 6, Sri Lanka 4, Singapore 3, Macao 2 and Brunei 2.


Pakistan is among the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018. Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (WFC) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36.  In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.   British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.

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Riaz Haq said…
Science festival inspires students in rural Pakistan

With their vibrant scientific models and stimulating explanations, students from the historical city of Thatta, in Pakistan’s Sindh province, not only displayed their talent but also fascinated visitors at the first ever Laar Science Festival.

More than 7,000 students from over 50 regional schools and colleges participated in the two-day (Dec 14-15) festival at Thatta’s Sports Complex.

A large number of teachers, entrepreneurs, science specialists and government officials also attended the event including Dr Nawaz Sogho, Deputy Commissioner of Thatta, Senator Sassui Palijo from Thatta district, Sindh’s Minister of Science and Technology Taimur Talpur.

Admiring the talent of local students in science and technology, minister Talpur promised to establish science centres in the region to groom young scientists.

“It’s amazing to see the scientific spirit in the ancient city of Thatta famous for its archaeological, cultural sites and the seat of three successive dynasties,” said Junaid Ahmad Dahar, CEO of Sindh Education Alliance.

He agreed with most of the visitors that the high level of participation by the students was a clear indication of their interest in utilising everyday science to work towards solving issues in their towns and cities.

Organised by Thar Education Alliance (TEA), Campaignistan, and Laar Education Campaign with the support of District Government of Thatta, the festival reached rural students who would not typically have the chance to attend science and technology events.

The science fest promoted a culture of inquiry and hands-on learning in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) subjects.

“We started this journey of organising science festivals from Tharparkar back in February 2018, and continuing this campaign for quality education in Pakistan” remarked Partab Shivani, CEO Thar Education Alliance and organiser of the event.

The theme of the event was ‘climate change’ to raise awareness on the issue as Pakistan has been ranked 7 on the list of climate vulnerable countries. To raise public awareness on the effects of climate change, the event was held in Sindh province, which is vulnerable to increased intensity of extreme weather events such as frequent floods and droughts.

Young scientists exhibited projects on solar panels, windmills, water purification, offering innovative solutions to climate change.

A project by Nimra Memon, a Grade 12 student at Concept School, Thatta, was highly acclaimed at the festival as well as on social media where her video received appreciation from Climate Change Adviser Malik Amin Aslam.

“The festival in my hometown Thatta has enhanced my interest in science and encouraged me to work on solutions to climate change and aware the people of Laar on the issue.”

After explaining the phenomenon and impact of global warming, she asked the visitors: “If it is not the time to talk about climate change, then when will be the right time?”

Campaignistan CEO Farhad Ahmad Jarral said: “We live in a digital age, where there is need to connect online and offline to bring change in the education discourse. The festival was appreciated by thousands online and sparked interest among students in other regions of Pakistan when the pictures and videos of students of Thatta were shared online.”
Riaz Haq said…
These 19 developments shaped Pakistan's economic future in 2018

Overall, 2018 saw Pakistan's economy buckle under increasing pressure, with decreasing foreign exchange reserves, increasing trade deficit, circular debt as well as foreign loans taking a toll on macroeconomic health.

As a result, the economy suffered while resources were diverted to handling power crises, import bills, and other issues. The country's foreign exchange reserves also remained under pressure.

Given that this was an election year, the outgoing PML-N government presented a populist budget, considerably slashing income tax slabs which put a further burden on the economy.

After Islamabad witnessed a regime change, the newly elected government increased taxes on utilities and luxury goods to mitigate the deficit. Side by side, a significant depreciation in the value of local currency also played a role in increasing inflation.

Meanwhile, friendly countries came forward to rescue the country's economy. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) provided a lifeline of $3 billion each to maintain foreign exchange reserves.

The KSA additionally provided a deferred payment facility of $3bn, while the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development financed eight development projects in Pakistan with a total value of AED1.5bn, including AED931 million in grants.

During the first half of the year, a tax amnesty scheme was launched for foreign asset holders. During the outgoing year, stricter regulations were imposed by the State Bank of Pakistan and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan on asset inflows and outflows.

The central bank also raised its policy (target) rate by 150 basis points (bps) to 10 per cent near the end of the year.

Here's a look at the major developments on the economic front throughout the year.

1. America suspends entire security aid to Pakistan

2. EU renews GSP+ scheme for two years

3. Tax amnesty scheme

4. Reduced taxation under reforms

5. Chinese tech giant Alibaba breaks into Pakistani market by acquiring Daraz

6. Pakistan placed on FATF 'grey list' despite diplomatic efforts to avert decision

7. In farewell budget, govt showers businesses with incentives

8. Rupee falls 5.7pc against dollar in interbank trade

9. First tax recovery made under Panama Papers investigation

10. PM Khan forms 18-member Economic Advisory Council

11. Saudi Arabia pledges $6bn package to Pakistan

12. PM forms Council of Business Leaders

13. Rupee sees further plunge as volatility sweeps financial markets

14. SBP raises key lending rate by 150 basis points to 10pc

15. Pakistan’s ‘Doing Business’ ranking up 11 notches

16. China agrees to almost double its imports from Pakistan

17. Rs82bn plan launched to reduce rural poverty

18. UAE pledges $3bn to boost Pakistan's liquidity, reserves

19. ‘Mini-budget’ planned as IMF, govt still differ
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s digital revolution is happening faster than you think

The digital power of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is slowly unfolding and shaping into a whole new area of opportunity.

When the BRI took global centre stage in 2013, most conversations revolved around traditional infrastructure: building roads, railways, power sources and linking borders. However, the digital awakening that BRI brings, and the associated development of human capital and innovation, is much more powerful.

The global map is being altered at a much faster rate than anticipated due to the disruption created by digital infrastructure, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain. Further digital and technological disruption is now set to mend fractures in society – leading to improved living conditions and enhanced economic empowerment.

This disruption has given new life to e-commerce and the start-up scene in BRI countries. In light of the Global Competitiveness Index 4.0, it is extremely important that economies grow in all areas, overcoming challenges and making investment in human capital and innovation. Resilience and agility are key.

Looking at the South Asian region, some of the traditional deterrents to growth have been inadequate transport facilities, patchy power supplies and lack of financial inclusion. As we have seen in the past, industrial revolutions take their time to reach developing countries but the Fourth Industrial Revolution has been quick to reach all corners of the world.

Billions of dollars of investment are bridging the infrastructure and power supply gap while improving technology – the goal is to look past the problems that have hindered the road to progress in countries along the BRI.

The flagship project of the BRI, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a major collaboration between China and Pakistan, has been rapidly progressing and the impact of the project can be seen in the lives of Pakistani people, as reflected in an improving human development index.

Pakistan, which is emerging from many years of the war on terror, is now on a decent path to progress, with economic growth of 5.8% and improved investor confidence. At the World Economic Forum in 2017, Ebay’s chief executive, Devin Wenig, highlighted Pakistan as one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the world. In 2018, Alibaba bought Pakistan’s largest e-commerce platform,

Growth is being accelerated by other major investments in power and connectivity infrastructure, technology and digital infrastructure. Ant Financial Services, China’s biggest online payment service provider, recently bought a 45% stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank, in a deal that valued the Pakistani bank at $410 million.

Irfan Wahab, chief executive of Telenor Pakistan, called the deal a “game changer”; while Eric Jing, chief executive of Ant Financial, said it would provide “inclusive financial services in a transparent, safe, low-cost and efficient way to a largely unbanked and underbanked population in Pakistan”.

This kind of investment will benefit from the significant demographic dividend in Pakistan, targeting the largely unbanked young population, and providing not only financial inclusion but also a base on which to build digital businesses.

What the country needs now is to improve its position on the innovation and financial inclusion indices, currently at 89 and 75 respectively, on the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index 2018.

CPEC is creating the atmosphere for investments like this, which improve connectivity with infrastructure and digital advances. The prospects for getting more benefits out of the project have improved further with the change of government in Pakistan. By providing more transparency in CPEC deals, the government of Pakistan is ensuring a safe investment that will not lead the country into danger.

Riaz Haq said…
U (University of Utah) team travels to Pakistan to launch $19 million USAID initiative

University of Utah officials recently traveled to Islamabad, Pakistan to hold the first Stakeholders Meeting of the new Higher Education Systems Strengthening Activity (HESSA)—a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)—funded initiative aimed at enriching the country’s higher education system. A 5-year, $19 million grant was awarded to the U and partners by USAID to provide technical assistance for the project. Representatives from the U’s Office for Global Engagement, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and College of Education are leading the initiative. Other U.S. project partners include the University of Alabama and the Institute of International Education.

These U.S. institutions will work closely with Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC). Together, they will provide training aimed at bolstering the administrative systems, curriculum and student life supports that will ultimately help students meet the needs of the contemporary workplace.

HESSA-trained member institutions will then promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education and strengthen the contributions of research universities to the country’s economy. “This important strategic initiative will increase access to and improve the quality of our higher education institutions in Pakistan,” said HESSA Chief of Party Aslam Chaudhry.

“The University of Utah is a global university with engagement in over 200 countries. This USAID grant builds on our existing relationships in Pakistan and will allow us to grow opportunities for Pakistani students and our educators,” said Taylor Randall, president of the University of Utah. “We look forward to working with our U.S. partners and Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission to strengthen Pakistan’s educational infrastructure and achieve its goal to provide students an excellent academic experience.”

The U has remained involved in Pakistan’s higher education development since the 2014 launch of the U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water—also a USAID-funded initiative, aimed at helping to train the next generation of the country’s water engineers. The reputation garnered during that project led to additional educational initiatives and capacity-building partnerships throughout the country.

“Expanding upon our long-standing higher education partnerships in Pakistan is an exciting endeavor that will foster the definition of academic rigor in the region,” said Michael Barber, chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and principal investigator, HESSA Project. “Our team enjoys exchanging knowledge and ideas to help international higher education institutions meet their evolving needs. In doing so, we learn so much about global challenges and opportunities that we can then bring back to Utah to share with our colleagues and students.”

The University of Utah is fast becoming known for international thought-leadership and the HESSA project is a continuation of that work. “Projects of this caliber make me very excited to be stepping into the role of Chief Global Officer at this time,” said Brian Gibson, who recently joined the U’s Office for Global Engagement. “We look forward to helping USAID deliver on its international development mission on behalf of the American people.”
Riaz Haq said…
#Karachi's Aga Khan University Prof Zulfiqar Bhutta ranked among top 100 scientists in #medicine globally. He is the only scientist from #Pakistan and the low- and middle-income countries who made it to the top 100. #Pediatrics #AKU @AKUGlobal @PFL_aku

Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta of the Aga Khan University (AKU) has been ranked among the top 100 medicine scientists in the first edition of top scientists ranking for medicine published by, one of the major knowledge centres for medicine research

The ranking is based on criteria that consider h-index, which indicates how productive and influential a researcher is, as well as publications and citations.

The ranking team examined 166,880 scientists on Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Graph, and over 65,743 profiles for the discipline of medicine.

Professor Bhutta is the only scientist from Pakistan and the low- and middle-income countries who made it to the top 100.

“As is the case for other recent recognitions, though a personal recognition, this ranking reflects the achievements of scores of young researchers and faculty members across the world who have worked with me on problems of the most marginalised and impoverished women and children in poor communities,” commented Professor Bhutta, who is the founding director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health and the Institute for Global Health and Development at AKU, and co-director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health and Policy, and a senior scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences programme at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto.

“Congratulations to Professor Bhutta and his team for this great achievement. Their relevant research at the AKU has changed lives not only in the countries where we seek to serve but also globally,” said AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin.

Professor Bhutta is one of the original members of the AKU’s faculty since the establishment of the university.

Having begun his career at AKU in 1986, the university provided a foundation for the development of an illustrious career in which he built research programmes on maternal and child health and nutrition with national and global impact, despite the challenges of political turmoil and economic insecurity in Pakistan.

Between 1996 and 2002, Professor Bhutta and his team at the university undertook extensive community outreach and research programme in an urban slum of Karachi and several rural areas of Pakistan, which then expanded to many regions and provinces of Pakistan as well as other low- and middle-income countries.

Over the last two decades, he has closely collaborated with the government of Pakistan to assess effectiveness of health care approaches and innovations in real-world settings through partnering with public sector community health workers.

Many of these large community-based cluster randomised trials led by Professor Bhutta have generated findings that changed global policy, most notably the finding that using chlorhexidine for cord care among home births was associated with significant reduction in the risk of neonatal sepsis and death, and that public sector community health workers could successfully work with communities to reach those at greatest risk and reduce perinatal mortality as well as maternal morbidities.

His work has been the foundation of multiple international guidelines, including changing the World Health Organisation policy on the treatment of persistent diarrhoea and malnutrition along with establishing lady health workers (LHW) as foundational members of community-based interventions in Pakistan, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Riaz Haq said…
#China tops #US in quantity and quality of #scientific papers. #Chinese #research accounted for 27.2%, or 4,744, of the world's top 1% of most cited papers, overtaking the U.S. at 24.9%, or 4,330. #UK came in 3rd at 5.5%. #India stands 4th & #Japan 5th.

China now leads the world both in the number of scientific research papers as well as most cited papers, a report from Japan's science and technology ministry shows, which is expected to bolster the competitiveness of its economy and industries in the future.

Research papers are considered higher quality the more they are cited by others. Chinese research accounted for 27.2%, or 4,744, of the world's top 1% of most cited papers, overtaking the U.S. at 24.9%, or 4,330. The U.K. came in third at 5.5%.

The ministry's National Institute of Science and Technology Policy compiled the report based on data from research-analytics company Clarivate. The figures represent 2019 levels, based on the annual average between 2018 and 2020 to account for fluctuations in publication numbers. The report was released Tuesday, the same day U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion bill framed as essential to winning economic competition with China through greater research.

Scientific research is the driver behind competitive industries and economies. Current research capabilities will determine future market shares in artificial intelligence, quantum technology and other cutting-edge fields, and may have a direct impact on national security as well.

China has quickly increased its footprint in advanced research in recent years. It overtook the U.S. in the total number of scientific papers in the 2020 report, then in the number of top 10% most cited papers in the 2021 report.

China published 407,181 scientific papers in 2019 according to the latest report, pulling further ahead of the U.S. at 293,434. In terms of the top 10% most cited papers, China accounted for 26.6% of publications, while the U.S. accounted for 21.1%.

"China is one of the top countries in the world in terms of both the quantity and quality of scientific papers," said Shinichi Kuroki, deputy director-general of the Asia and Pacific Research Center at the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

"In order to become the true global leader, it will need to continue producing internationally recognized research," he said.

Meanwhile, Japan is falling behind. It ranked fifth in the total number of publications and 10th in the top 1% most cited papers in the latest report after losing ground to India. It dropped to 12th place in the number of the top 10% most cited papers, passed by Spain and South Korea.

The number of universities in India have increased roughly 4.6 times from 243 in 2000 to 1,117 in 2018. Over two million receive a bachelor's degree in the sciences each year. In contrast, research Japan has slowed since the mid-2000s with no recovery in sight, stoking concerns about the effect on the country's economy and industries.
Riaz Haq said…

Gwadar Pro Official

China state-affiliated media
Gwadar Oceanographic Research Sub-Station all set to start
Considering Gwadar's geographic importance, the government plans to begin construction of the "Gwadar Oceanographic Research Sub-Station" on January 6th under the patronage of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIC).


NIC official told Gwadar Pro that research will involve areas of geological processes and geomorphology of the coastal areas, sedimentation and sedimentary processes in Indus Delta and Makran Margin, geo-hazards and coastal environment, exploration of placer minerals and other non-living resources, identification and evaluation of potential areas for hydrocarbon resources in EEZ, and study of sub-bottom strata for the laying submarine cables and pipelines and building coastal length.

NIO is the only R&D research organization in Pakistan for multidisciplinary oceanographic research with an experienced and well qualified team of scientists and technicians. Since the establishment of NIO, efforts have been made to enhance the R&D capabilities oceanography and a number of projects of national and international level have been undertaken.

The latest major achievement of NIO is the submission of Case for the Extension of Pakistan's Continental Shelf to the United Nation's Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). It is estimated that an area of more than 50,000 sq km of the extended continental shelf can be annexed to the existing 240,000 sq km offshore area of EEZ.

Riaz Haq said…
Stem Cell Research in Pakistan; Past, Present and Future

Major research project related to stem cells in Pakistan
Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan Science foundation (PSF) has approved many research projects on stem cells recently i.e. Dr. Asmat Salim doing research on “Role of preconditioned and genetically modified mesenchymal stem cells in the regeneration of cardiac tissue” in University of Karachi. Another project by Dr. Fridoon Jawad Ahmad is on “Development of Stem Cell therapy for Patients Suffering from Heart Disease in Pakistan” in King Edward Medical University, Lahore. Ongoing project by PSF is “Preconditioning of the stem and progenitor cells to increase their cardiomyogenic potential” (27). Besides this, there are few other projects which are going on in collaborations with American and European universities and research institutes and Pakistani researchers visit those labs and work there.

Go to:
Stem cells research institutes in Pakistan
As stem cells have created a great hype all over the world so stem cells research institutes/centers are also increasing in Pakistan. There is no specific institute or center that is fully dedicated for stem cells research but there are many institutes which have dedicated labs for stem cells research. The major centers in Pakistan that are working in area of stem cells include, Centre of excellence in molecular biology (CEMB), Center for Advanced Molecular Biology (CAMB), Dr. Punjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (University of Karachi), Shahid Zulfiqaar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Quaid-i-Azam University, King Edward Medical University (KEMU) Lahore, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Rawalpindi, Atta ur-Rehman School of Applied Biology (NUST, Islamabad), Agha Khan University (AKU), Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) and School of Biological Sciences (University of the Punjab) etc. There are also some private hospitals which are working in this area and the most famous hospital is National Institute of Blood Disease and Bone Marrow Transplantation (NIBD), Karachi. There is also a private center (CryoCell Pak), collecting and storing umbilical cord blood (UCB) so stem cells from UCB could be used later in life when required (Table 1).
Riaz Haq said…
Pioneering Stem Cell Research Conference at The Aga Khan University Brings Together Global Experts

The 8th Annual Surgical Conference in Pakistan aimed to promote collaboration between clinical specialties and basic science by convening experts from academia, research labs, and healthcare organizations worldwide. The conference focused on the latest developments, challenges, and opportunities in the field of stem cell research and its implications for surgery, with the aim of fostering innovative solutions for fatal diseases, such as heart diseases, strokes, burns, various cancers, diabetes and more. These are increasingly burdening the healthcare system and economy of Pakistan, and the overall quality of life of Pakistanis.

The chief guest, Prof Atta-ur-Rehman who is a UNESCO Science Laureate and Professor Emeritus, International Centre for Chemical & Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, said: “Sharing ideas is the first step towards innovation, and this conference is an unprecedented move towards encouraging discussions about the challenges associated with the field of stem cell science." Prof Rehman has previously served as Pakistan's Federal Minister of Education and Science and Technology.

50 experts from around the world participated in the discourse, with keynote addresses by Helena Pereira De Melo from Nova School of Law Lisbon, Portugal, Catherine Prescott from Cambridge Network, UK, and Marita Eisemann-Klein from Germany, to name a few.

Distinguished guest speakers, most of whom were invited from outside of Pakistan, delivered talks at the conference. Professor Arnold Richard Kriegstein, from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California and San Francisco (UCSF), commended the Aga Khan University for its pioneering efforts in initiating stem cell research in Pakistan and expressed pride in collaborating with the University to establish the stem cell center at AKU.

Professor Ather Enam, the Scientific Director of AKU's Juma Research Laboratory emphasized the significance of the conference stating that it was a one-of-a-kind event in the University's history that centered around the theme of bringing stem cell research from bench to bedside and into clinical trials. It was a unique opportunity for field experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders to collaborate and build momentum towards this goal.

Dr. Saleem Islam, the Chair of Surgery at AKU, stressed the importance of conducting basic science research in the region, despite the difficulties that come with it. Dr. Islam asserted that the reason AKU and Pakistan pursue this type of research is precisely because it presents a formidable challenge and that they must persevere in their commitment to undertaking challenging work.

In addition to the main conference, a series of pre-conference workshops were conducted to provide researchers with hands-on training and capacity building in stem cell science and biotechnology. The event also provided a platform for young researchers to showcase their work through oral and poster presentations and engage with their peers from around the world, thus fostering the exchange of scientific knowledge and building translational bridges. The conference proceedings are now available as a special supplement in the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association.​​

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