Monday, November 12, 2018

Pakistan's Scientific Output Doubles in 5 Years

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'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.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Hi-Tech Exports Exceed A Billion US Dollars in 2018 

Pakistan Becomes CERN Member

Pakistani Scientists at CERN

Rising College Enrollment in Pakistan

Pakistani Universities Listed Among Asia's Top 500 Jump From 16 to 23 in One Year

Genomics and Biotech Research in Pakistan

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Educational Attainment in Pakistan

Pakistan Human Development in Musharraf Years


Rks said...

Riaz Bhai,

Just recently, there was an DAWN article by an eminent Pakistani Scientist, Mr. Parvez Hoodbhoy. Please go through the article and you will get better idea of what is Pakistani "Scientific Output" really means. Statistics from Pakistan can be misleading.

Riaz Haq said...

19640909rk: "Statistics from Pakistan can be misleading."

The statistics I have shared in this post are not "from Pakistan". The papers included by Nature Index are "research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals". And "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".

Read the following:

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.

A Patriot said...


Hoodbhoy is a mix of Hussain Haqqani and Cyril Almeida... a paid traitor whose job is to publish negative and socially divisive propaganda against Pakistan.

If you must know, Nature Index measures "highly cited papers".. which refers to the top 1% of papers in the research field published in the world in the specified year. These are the type of papers Hoodbhoy would give a kidney for. Being an academic, he knows fully well the significance of the nature index, but he has absolutely no shame and lies through his teeth in the article.

The 2002 setback he refers to is his favorite pasttime.. taking shots at the work done by Prof. Atta ur Rehman, who is probably pakistan's most renowned scientist alive and who was appointed by Musharraf as chairman of HEC. Prof. Rehman brought a revolution in higher education in the country.

Dr. Hoodbhoy projects himself as a peer/rival to Pakistan's most eminent scientist living: Prof. Atta ur Rehman, whose status as Pakistan's brightest scientific mind led Musharraf to appoint him as Chairman of HEC and whose contributions as HEC Chairman capacity are held in esteem throughout the world, as some of the awards and appointments he was given during and after his tenure as HEC Chairman attest to:
- Honorary life fellow of King's College, Cambridge (UK's top ranked institution), and fellow of royal society
- Austria's highest civil award in 2007
- Italy's National Award in 2009
- Awarded by Chinese Academy of Science multiple times, including a honorary professorship
- Highest Chinese Civil award "Friendship Award of China" in 2014
- innumerable other awards and honorary memberships
- after his work in Pakistan he was made President of OIC's Academy of Science
- Has also been made Co-Chair of UN Committee on Science, Tech and Innovation.

You can compare Hoodbhoy's awards with these. Hoodboy these days is a professor at Forman Christian College. Not much of a peer position to the former HEC Chairman, Minister for Science and Technology, President of OIC's Academy of Science, and the first Muslim to receive the UNESCO Science Prize.

And, btw, Hoodbhoy refused to accept the Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2001, saying (quote from wikipedia):

"receiving an [award] – even if it is a high national award – would give me absolutely no sense of achievement or satisfaction... because it carries no credibility or prestige in professional circles"

He was probably bitter because Prof. Attaur Rehman was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (highest national civil award)

He is also well known to be a bit of a sour loser. He is a well known nuclear physicist, but for some reason he was not given much of a role in pakistan's nuclear program, or if he did, his work did not get any recognition. This is probably a reason why he became a bitter opponent of Pakistan's nuclear program and even went to the extent of publicly questioning their security and the danger of their falling in the hands of extremists.

At one time, when LUMS decided not to renew his contract, he went public and accused the university of not renewing his contract (which was well within the university's rights) because of a course that he was teaching about 'Science and religion'. Despite not having a shred of evidence to prove it. Despite that the fact that other professors taught similar courses on evolution and similar topics, and they never got fired. He probably was trying to use the controversy to get an offer from a western university by projecting himself as a scientist from a muslim country persecuted for his modern scientific thoughts.

Signs of a great patriot.


A Patriot said...

continued ....................

There is a lot more than can be written about Hoodboy and the motivation for his articles, but let me just counter that article you linked:

1. His claims that HEC's policies encouraging research, publication of papers, and pursuance of Ph.Ds have turned pakistan's universities into factories producing low quality papers are absolutely false.

Publishing of low quality papers just for points is much much more widespread in India and China than in Pakistan. In fact, it is a problem in every developing country where the institutional checks that prevent plagiarism and fake research are under-developed.

2. He says that when, in a bid to boost research and production of PhD degrees, the HEC significantly increased perks for faculty members, the HEC encouraged fake research is also wrong.

The HEC was actually trying to prevent brain drain of highly qualified researchers and faculty from the country, riaz's article today showing that Pakistan has become the 40th ranked country in highly-cited research proves the HEC policies have worked.

3. Hoodboy says "It is time to reject the grotesque distortion of priorities and reorient Pakistan’s universities towards their major responsibility and purpose — teaching"

Scientists and academics the world over would laugh at this statement. Every top university in the west (in the world rather) focuses on research as its primary endeavor. Universities are research centers, more than they are teaching institutions. I think serving as a college professor has distorted Hoodboy's perceptions on what a university is supposed to do.

Rizwan said...

@A Patriot

Thanks for the very well thought out critique of Hoodbhoy. I share your sentiments.

A Patriot said...

@Rizwan: Thanks, appreciate your kind words. Such people need to be put in their place because they only deal damage to the image of the country through their lies.

Also wanted to add for the benefit of the readers:

1. For anyone who thinks that all research papers published by Pakistan's universities are like that of the mass trash that is coming out of India (and previously China as well), here is an actual report backed by facts:

The above study by Thomson Reuters says:
"Pakistan’s Highly Cited Papers have increased ten fold in the last 10 years.

In the last decade, Pakistan’s scientific productivity increased by more than 4 times, 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.

Furthermore, in the last 10 years Pakistan has emerged as the country with the highest percentage of Highly Cited Papers compared with the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China)."

So a four-fold increase in overall number of papers, but a ten-fold increase in number of highly-cited papers. This fact alone is enough to prove how false hoodboy's claims are.

2. Dr. Atta ur Rehman, whom hoodboy so regularly criticizes, also happens to be one of only 4 scientists from the Muslim world to have ever been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in the last 350 years when the Royal Society was established, and the only scıentıst to be so recognısed for researches carrıed out wıthın a Islamıc country.
This is from

Here is Prof Rehman's researchgate profile:
And here is Hoodboy's:

Prof Rehman has close to 1000 research papers listed on researchgate, and some 10,000 citations. On google scholar his citation count is more than 17,000. He is probably pakistan's most prolific researcher alive.

Hoodboy has 105 papers listed on researchgate. Funnily MOST of those seem to be on topics that have nothing to do with Physics. He seems to write more papers on social or political science issues as you can tell from the titles: "Speculations on nuclear South Asia" or "STATES UNDER SIEGE: RISING TERRORISM AND THE ASCENT OF POLITICAL ISLAM" or "Pakistan's army: Divided it stands".

The point is: If you're going to believe somebody's claims on the state of science & research in Pakistan, whose will it be? A low-grade nuclear physicist who seems to have taken to writing articles and teaching geopolitics and religio-political issues more than actual physics, or the country's top scientist who has actual experience formulating policies at the highest level both in Pakistan and

3. Dr Atta ur Rehman as chairman HEC had done incredible work for the growth of higher education and science in Pakistan before his resignation due to developing differences with the PPP govt. The PTI Govt should seriously consider giving him charge of the institution once again, or appoint him as Minister for Education or Science & Technology, or an advisor the the PM on education and research. He will put the house in order.

Athar O. said...

The ECNEC Meeting chaired by FM Asad Umar approved Pakistan Space Center (PSC) worth about PKR 30 billion today. This will be a high tech facility to build satellites in Pakistan in collaboration with China and will transfer this important technology to Pakistan. This is the single largest investment in civilian scientific and technological capability - about 15 years worth of development budget for Ministry of Science and Technology.

Taking note of our recommendations ECNEC asked SUPARCO to produce a concrete plan for transfer of technology and development of downstream vendor industry to support future satellite development activity and a commercial plan for developing satellites for other countries. Space Vision 2047 dictates that Pakistan will spend roughly $1.5-2 billion in satellite development over the next 20-25 years and a lot of this money (and capability) should go to the private sector to enable them to compete globally in high technology exports.

This is an extremely important step and is in line with the National Framework on Civilian Spillovers of Defense and Strategic R&D that we've been developing at the Planning Commission for the last year or so. It was heartening to see support from several ministers including Asad Umar, Razak Dawood, and Ishrat Hussain to add this important element to our National Space Vision 2047. Right from the beginning of ECNEC, somehow local capacity development featured as a very important point in the discussions on all projects. Overall a good day that makes over year and a half of pain and hardwork with our partners in SUPARCO and other defense agencies worthwhile! :)

This and PAF's NGFA project, if done right, could be game changers for development of critical scientific and technological capability in the private sector over the next decade or two.

Anonymous said...

Israel at 15 and Singapore at 16, while India at 11? That sounds right.

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.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Israel at 15 and Singapore at 16, while India at 11? That sounds right."

Let's put this perspective:

India pop: 1.34 billion Quality-Adjusted Papers (WFC): 936

China pop: 1.39 billion Quality-Adjusted Papers (WFC): 7,449

Singapore: pop: 5.6 million Quality-Adjusted Papers (WFC): 480

Israel: pop: 8.7 million Quality-Adjusted Papers (WFC): 484

Shouldn't India compare itself with equally populous China rather than tiny Israel and tiny Singapore?

Riaz Haq said...

#Google's Lars Anthonisen, head of large customer marketing: #Pakistan is fast emerging "digital-first country". Pakistan will "produce one of the largest #digital audiences in the world" and is, therefore, a growing market for foreign #investors.

Google's Head of Large Customer Marketing, South Asia, Lars Anthonisen believes Pakistan, that he describes as a fast emerging "digital-first country", will prove to be a good investment for entrepreneurs around the world.

Anthonisen believes that Pakistan is on its way to "produce one of the largest digital audiences in the world" and is, therefore, a growing market for foreign investors.

He listed five reasons for companies to expand their digital campaigns to Pakistan in a blog post he wrote for Think with Google, a platform that hosts expert analysis for e-commerce and digital branding in the Asia-Pacific region.

Fast-growing population
According to Anthonisen, Pakistan's fast-growing population means that it has an increasing number of people that go online every day.

He also refers to growing urbanisation in the country, where 40 per cent of total households live in cities. The rate of urbanisation in Pakistan is higher than that of India, which means there are more "potential customers".

SME-driven economy
Anthonisen says that Pakistan's economy — expected to be the fourth fastest growing economy in the world by the year 2030 — is largely driven by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Around 90 per cent of the businesses in Pakistan are SMEs that have a 40 per cent share in the country's gross domestic product.

Increasing number of smartphone users
Pakistan has a sizeable online population due to decreasing smartphone prices and cheap data packages. About 59 million people in Pakistan use smartphones, out of which 83 per cent have Android devices, Anthonisen says. As smartphone prices continue to drop, the number of users is likely to increase.

Also read: 3G and 4G mobile internet users cross 30m milestone

As data prices are "some of the cheapest... in the world", the usage of mobile apps, like YouTube, is increasing.

Internet penetration at a 'tipping point'
Even though internet penetration in Pakistan stands at 22 per cent, Anthonisen claims that digital consumption in the country is on the rise. Currently, there are 4.46 million internet users in the country. He cites the increase in YouTube watch time as an example of increasing digital consumption. The video platform has witnessed a 60 per cent increase in its watch time over the past three years.

Exclusive: The CPEC plan for Pakistan’s digital future

China's investment
According to Anthonisen, the Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) programme is China's largest investment in a foreign country. One of the projects of that are part of CPEC is the laying of 820 kilometres of fibre-optic cable, that will connect more Pakistanis to the digital world.

Anthonisen advises businesses to "leave a mark" on Pakistan's growing online market to grab the "endless opportunities that it can offer to investors.

Anonymous said...

This bodes well for our soft image Go through profile of Lars Anthonisen. He is a big shot tipped to be future CEO of google. His ex-colleagues consider him a close friend of Pakistan and admirer of our culture.

Rks said...

@ A Patriot,

Disagree with you. Parvez Hoodbhoy always wanted to improve the educational status of Pakistan. He gave up comfortable life in USA to work for his nation. Also, he was against political loot of LUMS campus. For this, he became a hated person.

Anonymous said...

As part of ECNEC/SUPARCO deliberations, the first batch of SUPARCO engineers will be dispatched for training before the end of the year. Chinese will share detailed blue prints of PRSS-1 and PakTES-1A and road maps used by Long March rocket. PAC Kamra will also be part of the engineering projects. China will also purchase future launch capabilities once Pakistan matures as a space faring nation.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s #digital revolution is happening faster than you think. Growth is being accelerated by other major investments in #power and #connectivity #infrastructure, technology and digital infrastructure. #technology #CPEC via @wef

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,

..... 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.


The rapid completion of CPEC projects and the use of digital technology in the process is disrupting the economy and the lives of people at the same time. The question is whether Pakistan’s leadership will choose to embrace these technologies and take advantage of the biggest project on the road to progress. The future is full of opportunities and promise.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan steps forward in astronomy and space sciences

Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), which is often criticised by Pakistani scientific community for not being on par with its Indian or Chinese counterparts, sent two satellites in space from a launching facility in China this July.

A surprise as it may be, one of the satellites launched the PakTES-1A, which was indigenously designed and developed by Pakistani engineers. Primarily aimed at remote sensing, the satellite is providing promising results, meeting or even exceeding expectations, a senior official of Suparco says.

Talking about the development phase of the satellite, the official says that it was a tough task to complete it on time because the launch date had already been fixed and a delay of not even a day could be afforded.

“The other satellite, PRSS-1, developed by China and Pakistan in collaboration, was due to launch on July 9, and PakTES-1A had to be co-launched, thus the Pakistani engineers worked day and night to have it ready by then,” he says.


There are currently astronomy societies in Pakistan’s cities of Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta. These societies were started and are being operated by amateur astronomers — enthusiasts who have little to no professional education in astronomy but are guided by their love for the universe.

Biggest telescope
Founded in 2008, the Karachi Astronomers Society is a society that is known for owning one of the biggest private telescopes in Pakistan. Chaired by a retired combat pilot of Pakistan Air Force Khalid Marwat, the society organises star parties for the public at different public places of the city, and sometimes the group also ventures out to dark skies for having a better view of the skies as compared to the massively light-polluted skies of the city of the lights.

The society has an 18-inch diameter telescope which is a prized possession of the society’s chairman Mr Marwat. Apart from that, Mehdi Hussain, former president of the society and an IT expert by profession, has built an astronomical observatory at his home’s rooftop. Named Kaastrodome (Karachi Astronomical Dome) the observatory is fitted with a 12-inch diameter telescope. The dome was built locally in Karachi and was supervised and funded privately by Mr Hussain and his brother Akbar Hussain, who also shares the same interest.

Karachi also is home to Pakistan’s biggest telescope, a 24-inch diameter telescope that is owned by astronomy enthusiast Naveed Merchant. This telescope is bigger than any other private or public telescope in Pakistan.

Recently, the society gained much attention after a photograph of the Moon by one of its members, Talha Zia, made it to NASA’s website Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

Mr Zia’s photograph was the first from Pakistan to make it to the prestigious listing of carefully selected astrophotos from around the world. 150 kilometres to the north of Karachi, the city of Hyderabad has its own astronomy society, the Hyderabad Astronomical Society.

The now-dormant society was founded by a group of students of Isra University including Amjad Nizamani and Zeeshan Ahmed on the eve of World Space Week 2011. This was the first-ever session on astronomy in the city and gained much media attention. The society also collaborated with Suparco to organise observing sessions at the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) in Jamshoro, a city next to Hyderabad for the World Space Week 2012.

Riaz Haq said...

Politicians, pundits and headlines have speculated for well over a decade regarding a space race between the United States and China. After a congressional hearing in 2006, Representative Tom DeLay said, “We have a space race going on right now and the American people are totally unaware of all this.” Representative Frank Wolf shared that view, specifically regarding a race to the moon, or back to the moon in the case of the United States. “If China beats us there, we will have lost the space program,” said Wolf. “They are basically, fundamentally in competition with us.”

China space analyst Dean Cheng posited in 2007 that the Chinese were “embarking on a systematic space program the world has not seen since the 1960s and for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States is facing real competition.” TIME ran a headline in 2008 stating, “The New Space Race: China vs US” while others speculated on China taking the competitive lead.

While each statement merits consideration, whatever competition is going on in or regarding space between the United States and China, there are other equally strategic competitive space races going on in Asia as well.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, signed by 107 countries including the United States, describes space as a global commons, one open to peaceful use by all countries. But space assets have considerable strategic value in both the civil and military spheres, from the detection of nuclear weapons blasts to the multibillion dollar businesses that rely on positioning and navigation data provided by systems like the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), making protection of those assets a national interest potentially worth fighting for. Consequently, space is also increasingly described as a warfighting domain – alongside air, land, sea and cyber – especially by the very “space reliant” United States. Those juxtaposed considerations, the rising number of private, commercial space industries, and the largely dual-use nature of space technology, create an environment ripe for multiple competitions.

When the same dual-use technology is of value to both the civil and military communities, as most space technology is, and it is impossible to tell if military technology is for offensive or defensive purposes, ambiguity reigns. But to the military, capability plus intent equals threat, and with intent unclear, capabilities alone can define threats. Additionally, space prowess conveys considerable prestige that transfers into strategic influence. Consequently, government investments in space both increase regional and even global influence and open potential development opportunities through orbital information technology, and provide considerable military advantages (as first demonstrated during the 1990-91 Gulf War, dubbed the first “space war”) and the need to protect the assets providing those advantages. Therefore it is perhaps not surprising that besides the United States and China, India, Pakistan, Japan, and South Korea are all involved in space races of one kind or another.

Riaz Haq said...


The right of any State to develop outer space technologies, be they launching capabilities, orbiting
satellites, planetary probes, or ground-based equipment, is, in principle, unquestionable. In practice,
however, problems arise when technology development approaches the very fine line between civil
and military application, largely because most the technologies can be used for dual military and civil
purposes. This dichotomy has raised a series of political, military, and other concerns which affect the
transfer of outer space technologies in different ways, and particularly between established and
emerging space-competent States. Accordingly, for many years several States have sought ways and
means to curb the transfer of specific dual-use outer space technologies, particularly launcher
technology, while still allowing some transfer of these technologies for civil use.

Then come the States in Category III. These are countries which are still acquiring basic, qualified
outer space technologies, some with the aim of joining the ranks of EtSC States and indeed becoming
suppliers of technologies and services before the end of the century. Argentina, Brazil, India, Israel,
and Pakistan can be identified as belonging to Category III and, to a lesser extent, other States such as
South Africa could also be included as discussed below. Category IV of outer space competence
covers States, such as Indonesia and South Korea, which have announced their intention to initiate
outer space activity sometime in the future. Also assignable to this Category States which have no
intention of manufacturing systems or sub-systems, but wish to access derivative services.


There have been two major changes to Pakistan’s space institutions since 1961. One
was the replacement of the Committee in 1981 by the semi-autonomous Space and Upper
Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO). The other was the creation of the Space
Research Council (SRC) and its subordinate body, the Executive Committee of the Space
Research Council (ECSRC). While SRC is responsible for developing guidelines and
supervising Pakistan’s space programme, it is SUPARCO that ensures the application of
Pakistani sounding-rocket programme was the construction of a vehicle using a mixture of indigenous
and imported technology, the latter originating mostly from NASA, CNES, and BNSC [British
National Space Centre] in the early 1960s.166 For example, the first Pakistani sounding-rocket, the
REHBAR-I, was launched from its Flight Test Range (FTR) at Sonmiani on 7 June 1962.167 The
construction of the SUPARCO Plant in 1968168 provided Pakistan with facilities for building
sounding-rockets and instrumentation for rocket-borne and ground-based applications. The first
reported Pakistani-built sounding-rocket, a two-stage solid-propellant rocket named REHNUMA-1,
was launched in 1969 from the FTR. This rocket was capable of carrying a 35-kg payload up to 160
km. A heavier version, although also a two-stage solid-propellant vehicle, the SHAHPAR, boosted
Pakistani sounding-rocket capability to a 55-kg payload up to 450 km.

Riaz Haq said...

Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) project was successfully negotiated between the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the World Bank in May 2019, for a $400 Million IDA credit support. Subsequently, the project was approved by the World Bank Board in May.

The project has five components. The Component-1, Nurturing academic excellence in strategic sectors, will help promote relevant and cutting-edge research in universities in Pakistan, through competitive research, innovation, and commercialization grants to researchers and potential entrepreneurs from among faculty members, and current students.

The Component-2, Supporting decentralized HEIs for improved teaching and learning, aims to improve the quality of education delivered by Tier 2 universities and affiliated colleges through strengthening affiliation systems and technological interventions.

The objective of the Component-3 is to leverage technology to improve the teaching, learning and research environment in Pakistan and strengthen the existing IT resources available to institutions for research and higher education in Pakistan.
The Component-4, Higher education management information system and data-driven services, aims to improve the collection and use of data for national level policy-decisions while automating business processes in higher education institutions.

The fifth component will support HEC in strengthening its core functions of regulation, capacity building, and funding of Pakistan’s higher education sector through strategic and targeted technical assistance, including the establishment of National Higher Education Academy.

Riaz Haq said...

The (Pakistan) University Grants Commission (UGC) which drew its powers from The University Grants Commission Act, 1974 was replaced by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2002.

A comparison of funding to the universities by the UGC and the HEC is enough to understand the level of commitment to higher education by the successive governments in Pakistan. The UGC provided funding of PKR 7,538.835 million to the universities from financial year 1978-79 to 2001-02 while after the establishment of the HEC, a whopping PKR 115,413.194 million have been pumped into universities by the commission from the financial year 2002-03 to 2015-16.

University education versus school education
The Pakistani universities and DAIs are offering academic and research programs in anthropology, agriculture, space sciences, fisheries and aquaculture, computer science and IT, business and management, engineering and technology, veterinary science, psychology, so on and so forth.

With institutes of higher learning like the Virtual University (VU), the country’s first university based completely on modern information and communication technologies offering academic programs while “using free-to-air satellite television broadcasts and the Internet” and the Information Technology University (ITU) which is nurturing “an environment of hightech research and entrepreneurship with its state-of-the-art facilities, world-class faculty, in-house startups incubator and well-established government and industry linkages,” Pakistan’s higher education landscape is certainly versatile.

The Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN), an initiative of the HEC, launched in 2002, is providing communication infrastructure to the 250 plus universities and institutes of higher learning, including colleges and research organizations of the country to meet their networking and internet requirements.

Whereas, as per the latest Pakistan Education Atlas, a staggering 46 percent of public sector primary schools (124,284 primary schools) in Pakistan are without electricity. The Pakistan Education Atlas, prepared by the federal government’s Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM) and UN World Food Program, was launched in September 2015. Besides many others, the country’s school education system is facing challenges of missing facilities. Luckily, most Pakistani universities do not face such challenges.

Scholarships galore

Presently, there are some 40,000 faculty members in public and private sector universities and DAIs of the country and only about 10,000 of them are PhDs which makes it a 25 percent of the total teaching strength in Pakistani universities.

After the establishment of the HEC, Pakistan witnessed a kind of ‘revolution’ in indigenous and foreign scholarships for MPhil and PhD programs both for the faculty members and the students.

The HEC, under its Faculty Development Program (FDP), has so far awarded 2,450 foreign scholarships, executed by universities and DAIs, with maximum 938 scholarships in the discipline of Engineering and Technology. These are followed by 493 scholarships in Physical Sciences and 431 in Social Sciences.

So far, the HEC has sent 7,806 Pakistani students under its Overseas Scholarships Program out of which 5,683 have returned while 2,123 are currently pursuing MPhil leading to PhD or PhD programs abroad. Those who have returned 1,874 scholars completed their studies in Biological and Medical Sciences, 1,406 in Physical Sciences and 979 in Engineering and Technology.

Of those who availed Overseas Scholarships, 1,341 were sent to United States, 1,226 to United Kingdom and 907 to Cuba.

Riaz Haq said...

A team led by Pakistani scientist has developed a promising solar cell technology that sets two new world records of efficiency in the lab. The approach could help foster clean energy initiatives to combat the global warming issue.

Yasir Siddique – a PhD scholar at the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) and the University of Science and Technology (UST), Daejeon, South Korea – has designed and fabricated solution-processed Copper Indium Sulphu Selenide (CISSe) solar cells.

The stable solution-processed, low bandgap CISSe device perfectly works as a single cell, but could also be sandwiched with other thin-film solar cell materials having suitable bandgap as top cell-like recently emerging solar cell technology of Perovskite in tandem solar cell configuration.

The bandgap is the amount of energy needed to free the electron from any semiconductor; the lower the bandgap the more it produces electricity.

Our sun is an average 150 million kilometres away but a primary source of light and heat for our planet. Theoretically, the sun throws 1,360 watts per square metre of mixed energy on a surface directly facing it.

However, the sunlight on any solar cell largely reflected or passed through the structure and a few per cent of energy converts directly from sunlight into electricity. So, the power conversion rate, roughly called the efficiency is the degree to which a solar cell converts energy from sunrays.

There are many types of solar cells with varied efficiencies. The first, second and third generation of solar cells is another way to describe them. Different types of solar cell have different efficiencies for instance traditional silicon cell has efficiency from 15 to 20 per cent while concentrated solar cells could be 41 per cent efficient but need focused beams at one place.

However, Siddique’s cell falls in the emerging trend of Tandem solar technology and is now most efficient in its category.

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...

A Babar Azam cover drive question appears in Pakistani physics book, PIC goes viral

Here's the question: "Babar Azam has hit a cover drive by given kinetic energy of 150J to the ball by his bat. a) At what speed will the ball go the boundary if the mass of the ball is 120g? b) How much kinetic energy footballer must impart to a football of mass 450g to make it move at this speed?" says the question that has been widely shared on social media platforms."

The picture of this question in the book has gone viral on the internet with some fans even trying to find the answer.

(Picture shows the following kinetic energy = 0.5x mass x velocity squared. 120 grams ball driven with 150 joules energy achieves 50 meters/sec speed)