UK charity organization UPSIGN Network and UKRI to organize three Global Development Workshops in Islamabad next month


LONDON: A UK based charity UPSIGN (UK Pakistan Science Innovation Global Network) has partnered with UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to organise three development workshops in Pakistan on 9 -12 th March 2020.

Over 140 academics from the UK, Pakistan and the region will travel to Islamabad to take part in the workshops that aim to address challenges linked to sustainable development in Food Systems, Energy/Water and Health sectors in Pakistan and the region.  The activities will create and foster new relationships and develop new networks interested in solving development issues, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The High Commission hosted the UK Launch of Global Development Workshops at the high commission’s premises in London on 17 February 2020. Welcoming the initiative, High Commissioner Muhammad Nafees Zakaria said:  “We are delighted to host UPSIGN members and UKRI and British academics at the UK launch of the Global Development Workshops.” He lauded the efforts of UKRI and UPSIGN for this marvelous and timely initiative, saying that:  “Pakistan has a long history of working in partnership with its UK diaspora, so it’s fantastic to see British Pakistani professionals creating initiatives like this that have the potential to be impactful and sustainable for the mutual benefit of both nations.”

While appreciating the efforts of the charity for sustainable development in Pakistan, the High Commissioner laid emphasis on collection of accurate and reliable data in the fields of health, education and literacy so that the issues could be seen in their true perspective and be addressed effectively. He noted that data relating to socio-economic status of a country reflects on its image and perception internationally and hence needs to authentic and reliable.

Nafees Zakaria also apprised the guests of investment opportunities available for Diaspora and international investors in various sectors of Pakistan economy.

Professor Nicola Lowe, UKRI’s GCRF Challenge lead for Food Systems said:  “Through the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund we have a fantastic opportunity to combine research and academic knowledge with in-country expertise to develop practical solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges including climate change, food insecurity and poor health. Furthermore,  “Joining with UPSIGN to develop and deliver these this workshop series, opens up exciting possibilities for new collaborations between researchers and community groups from the UK and Pakistan to make a real difference to people with terrible struggles in their everyday lives.”

Prof Jawwad Darr (University College London), the Chairman of UPSIGN Network,said “ I’m very proud of the UPSIGN team’s efforts to volunteer their time and proactively facilitate British and other scientists to partner with each other for mutual benefit of the UK, Pakistan and the SE Asia Region”

Dr Khalid Mahmood (UPSIGN Cofounder) said “this is an exciting time where top universities and research institutes are taking part in the workshops. This includes researchers from more than 20 UK universities and research Institutes.”

The details of the workshops in Islamabad are as under:

The first workshop (9th – 10th March 2020) will focus on the issues related to food security, sustainable food production, strategic planning to maximize dietary diversity and quality, issues to tackle the spread of diseases from livestock to humans (Zoonotic Disease), issue of antibiotics use.

The second workshop (10th – 11th March 2020) will focus on health, gender and Mental Health and reproductive health, issues experienced by children and adolescents and their impact in mental health. The workshop will also focus on biomaterials and regenerative medicine for developing low-cost healthcare solutions for the management of wounds and injuries.

The third workshop (11th– 12th Mar 2020) aims to focus on renewable energy planning, new technologies in the water and energy sector and the education and policy-making surrounding these initiatives.

The workshops are also supported by a number of universities in the UK and Pakistan, the Faraday Institute, The British Council, Pakistan High Commission London, The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Comsats University Islamabad and Common Purpose, UK.