Senior U.S. and Pakistani officials, along with representatives from Arizona State University and other U.S. and Pakistani universities, officially launched the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies (USPCAS), a $127 million investment from the United States building partnerships in higher education and research, at Pakistan’s National University of Science and Technology (NUST). More than 300 students, faculty, and administrators attended the event in Islamabad.
This initiative is a set of partnerships between world-class U.S. and Pakistani universities that will harness applied research to find innovative and practical solutions for Pakistan’s energy, water, agriculture, and food security challenges. ASU will partner with both the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) and the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar, to create two centers for energy research. The five-year project will aim to boost energy production where as much as 80 percent of the population does not have a steady supply of electricity.
“This strategic alliance with two of Pakistan’s leading universities is aligned with ASU's mission of helping solve global challenges, in this case promoting economic opportunities in Pakistan through education, training and research in energy,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, Senior Vice President for Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “This is the largest USAID project to date awarded to Arizona State University and we are pleased to partner with these two universities to demonstrate a new model that focuses on using an innovative approach for societal advancement."
ASU staff will partner with Pakistani counterparts to focus on growing capacities in governance, curriculum, applied research, exchanges and scholarships, and institutional sustainability. The driving force will be graduate education and research.
A small ASU-contracted staff will work in Pakistan with ASU faculty visiting throughout the year. Some Pakistani staff will come to Arizona. The Pakistani universities also will send graduate students to ASU for further education and training throughout the lifespan of the project.
The University of Jamshoro and University of Utah will partner to create the center for water; and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad and the University of California at Davis will partner to create the center for agriculture and food security.
“The future we want to build with Pakistan is inherently university-to-university, business-to-business, people-to-people. Those are the ties that last, that build real understanding and prosperity on both sides, and we have a strong foundation for progress,” said U.S. Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel in his keynote address.
Through the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies, U.S. and Pakistan universities will also partner to build capacity and long-term cooperation, including with the private sector to drive innovation and growth. To this end, the United States will provide graduate-level scholarships through exchange programs and support construction of world-class libraries, laboratories, and additional research facilities.
Since 2009, the United States Government has built or rehabilitated about 1,000 Pakistani schools, provided over 5,000 scholarships for Pakistani students to study English and awarded scholarships to more than 12,000 Pakistani students to study at Pakistani higher education institutions through various USAID educational programs. The United States also currently supports nineteen partnerships between Pakistani and U.S.-based universities.