ISLAMABAD, Nov 18 (APP): Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood on Wednesday said mapping of the country’s own scientific talent pool was imperative for linking Pakistani Centres of Excellence with their international counterparts and also facilitating technology transfer at international and regional levels.

In his keynote speech at the inauguration of COMSTECH Consortium of Excellence, the Foreign Secretary said the scientific pool could particularly include those Pakistanis who were abroad in various capacities as scholars and researchers or working in high tech or big science fields.

Terming education as the indispensable building block of civic life, the Foreign Secretary said nations prosper and progress when a conscious, concerted effort was made to invest in collective intellectual capital.

In this respect, he said, Pakistan’s higher education institutions were the gateway, shaping the future of Pakistan.

He expressed satisfaction over the inauguration of the COMSTECH Consortium of Excellence, which was conceived as a strategic convergence of leading universities of Pakistan and OIC in the fields of Science and Technology.

The COMSTECH Consortium of Excellence envisages creating inclusive global and regional partnerships in science, for constructing and partaking of an OIC knowledge economy.

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The Foreign Secretary said the Consortium would showcase collective scientific endeavors at the international stage leading towards greater share of the digital and high-tech export market-globally, and particularly in Africa as the targeted market.

He said the COMSTECH Consortium of Excellence could play a pivotal role in boosting trade ties with African countries through its proposed Business Accelerator Program.

He said as the premier institution of OIC on Science and Technology, COMSTECH had a special and particular responsibility to enhance OIC’s science and technology footprint across the Muslim world and even beyond.

Sohail Mahmood said this was also in line with the OIC STI Agenda 2026, adopted during the first OIC S&T Summit, which called for enhanced Intra-OIC Cooperation in the fields of health, agriculture, climate change, food and water security, and big science projects.

Since COMSTECH is an important partner in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Science Diplomacy initiative, he said, the Ministry had formally launched its Science Diplomacy Action Plan.

He mentioned that the Plan envisaged a multi-pronged, multi-stakeholder holistic approach to facilitate scientific collaborations, improve international market access for Pakistani exports, encourage academic research and development activities through international collaborations, and showcase STI as a key asset of Pakistan.

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He said a pivotal part of the Action Plan pertains exclusively to the academia, which he said entailed promotion of Pakistan’s universities abroad, ensuring researcher mobility, and popularization of science in Pakistan through national and international collaborations.

He also mentioned that the Ministry today launched the Diaspora Outreach Research and Innovation Network (DORIN) registration portal.

The Foreign Secretary said the Ministry was ready to work with local universities in engendering international linkages and promoting research products and services abroad.

By virtue of this Consortium, we are well placed to institutionalize our collaborations in a meaningful and impactful manner, he addedHe asked the universities to share the product portfolio of research and development products that were market-ready, through the Consortium, so as to explore further collaborations through the embassies and trade missions abroad.

Coordinator General COMSTECH Dr Iqbal Choudhry, vice chancellors and rectors attended the event.