IBA and AKU collaborate to facilitate research opportunities

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi and Department of Medicine of the Aga Khan University (AKU) Karachi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide a fully funded, research training opportunities in Data Science and Non-communicable diseases to four candidates.

The MoU signing ceremony was held at AKU and Dr. S Akbar Zaidi, Executive Director, IBA; and Sulaiman Shahbuddin, President, AKU, graced the event as chief guests.

Dr. Shakeel Khoja, Dean School of Mathematics and Computer Science, IBA and Dr. Adil Haider, Dean Medical College, AKU signed the agreement on behalf of their respective institutions. The collaboration aims to enable and support aspirational Data Science students interested in the research of NCDs. Selected students will be fully funded for their Master’s in Data Science from SMCS, IBA, and will be provided with the opportunity to work as a paid Research Instructor for two years at the Department of Medicine, AKU. Furthermore, the program includes mentorship by IBA, AKU and Duke University Faculty.

The IBA team included Dr. Tariq Mahmood, Professor and Program Coordinator, MS Computer Science and MS Data science programs; Dr. Shahid Hussain, Chairperson, Computer Science department; and Dr. Sajjad Haider, Professor, Computer Science department. AKU was represented by Dr. Zainab Samad, Ibn-e-Sina Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine and Director, CITRIC Health Data Science Centre; Dr. Adil Haider, Dean Medical College, and other faculty members.

The event commenced with opening remarks by Dr. Zainab Samad and Dr. Gerald Bloomfield, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine and Global Health Institute, Duke University.

A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Sarmad ensued and included the following speakers: Dr. Sajjad Haider, Professor, Computer Science Department, IBA; Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Paediatrics & Child Health, AKU; Dr. John Bartlett, Professor of Medicine, Global Health and Nursing, Duke University; Dr. Ayeesha Kamal, Professor of Neurology, AKU and Dr. Aysha Almas, Associate Professor of Medicine, AKU.

Dr. Haider elaborated that the collaboration would enable academics from AKU and IBA to investigate the applications of existing machine learning algorithms for healthcare problems such as patient stay prediction, the possibility of readmission, and early warning systems to predict patient risk at an early stage. Additionally, the joint effort would also focus on the application of computer vision techniques on medical images and text analytics techniques on clinical notes and radiologist reports. This collaboration would also provide an avenue to develop novel methods for explainable Artificial Intelligence in the health domain.

Addressing the audience Dr. Zaidi commended AKU for organizing an excellent event and for playing an integral role in this collaboration between IBA, AKU and Duke University to train researchers who can understand and contribute towards suggesting and developing low-cost solutions to NCDs. He also said that IBA and AKU collaboration will bring great research opportunities for his colleagues.

Sharing his views, Dr. Khoja said that “This is a unique academic partnership in Pakistan between the IBA and AKU, where academics will work in their own domains to carry out research in order to solve local problems and challenges.”

Expressing his appreciation, Mr. Shahbuddin thanked Dr. Zaidi for gracing the event with his presence. Furthermore, he said that as a proud IBA alumnus, he was delighted at this collaboration between the two finest institutes, the AKU and the IBA, which have come together to deliver this project on Data Science and building capacities for research in NCDs in Pakistan.

Speaking about the Program structure, Dr. Tariq Mahmood said, “The exact method through which this program will be executed is through first identifying the NCD health indicators. Then we are going to create problem statements and research questions pertaining to the improvement of these health indicators. We will then convert these problems to formal projects to be executed in the MSDS program as MS theses, MS projects or course projects. Furthermore, we will strive for maximum performance through aggressive hands-on activities in data science skills.”

Related: IBA Karachi & Sumitomo ink an MoU to facilitate meritorious students

SU, UAF Vice-Chancellors agree to carry out joint research

A 5-member delegation of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) led by scientist Prof Dr Muhammad Jalal Arif called on the Sindh University (SU) Vice-Chancellor Professor (Meritorious) Dr Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro and exchanged views on joint research projects and other academic collaboration.
The delegation working on a research project to eliminate locusts from Sindh and Balochistan termed the University of Sindh as one of the best universities in the country and expressed their interest to work with its faculty members in the field of research.
During the meeting, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad Prof. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan also had a telephone conversation with his SU counterpart. They both agreed to jointly collaborate and carry out research activities, ensure faculty exchange and hold informative workshops in the days to come.
SU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro on the occasion invited his counterpart to pay a visit to the University of Sindh in order to share ideas of joint collaboration and reach a memorandum of understanding (MoU) who accepted the invitation and said that he would soon visit the University of Sindh.
The Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro during his telephone conversation told his counterpart Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that without research, the role of the university was nothing and there was no difference between a university and a college.
He said that the universities had to focus on research while the University of Sindh was working hard in this regard.
The two Vice-Chancellors agreed to work together on different research projects, exchange programs and other areas for the benefit of both universities, scholars and students.
Meanwhile, in the meeting, the scientist of UAF Dr. Muhammad Jalal Arif, introduced his team members including Dr. Muhammad Dildar Gogi, Dr. Shahid Majeed and Dr. Abid Ali accompanied him from the Department of Entomology, University of Agriculture. SU’s Assistant Professor of the Department of Zoology Dr. Riffat Sultana was also present in the moot.
He briefed the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro on the going research upon prevention of attacks of locusts in Sindh and their genocide.
The scientist said that Dr. Riffat Sultana, an Assistant Professor at SU’s Department of Zoology had been appointed as focal person by the higher education commission (HEC) Islamabad in order to eliminate locusts who had been destroying the crops, fruits, saplings and trees in the province.
He said that the other researchers belonging to SU will also be added to the research team in different projects, adding that the project to eliminate locusts was of Rs. 64 million, which had been received from the Higher Education Commission Islamabad.
“This is a world bank funded project through HEC to get rid of locusts and ensure preservation of crops, fruits and other valuable plants in Sindh and Punjab”, he said and established that the locusts were found in Pasni, Ormara, Gwadar, Lasbela and other parts of Balochistan, which migrated to Sindh and destroyed crops, fruits, trees and plants from time to time.
He said after destruction of crops in Sindh, the locusts had been paving their way to the Punjab in search of different yields.
Talking on the working modus operandi of the Universities across Pakistan, he told the Vice-Chancellor that the promotions of teachers at the University of Agricultural Faisalabad were linked with obtaining research projects from the HEC and even the appointments of chairpersons of various departments, Directors of the Centers and the Deans of Faculties were also conditional with the academic feat and par excellence.
“Those professors who contribute something to their universities should be facilitated”, he said.
The well-known scientist further said that it was not necessary to assign any academic position to a professor who never obtained any project from the HEC because the length of service did not matter in today’s contemporary and fast era.
“The seniority of 30 to 35-year-service at the universities does not keep importance to be promoted or appointed to key academic positions like chairperson, director or dean”, he stated.
He said that the Higher Education Commission Islamabad was providing a huge amount of funds for conducting research in various fields for which every teacher should submit a proposal. He said that the job of the university was only to pay salaries, pensions and utility bills, however, for the rest of the facilities, the professors had to struggle and win the research projects.

Related: Basketball, volleyball courts established at Sindh University’s girls’ dormitories

University Of Education Inks MoU With University Of Karachi’s Center

International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi (UoK) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with University of Education (UE), Lahore on Tuesday.