Reorganization of Pakistan’s Science and Technology Enterprise

M. N. Khan


Ability of any modern society to develop and fully exploit advancements in Science and Technology
(S&T) is critical to its long-term prosperity. While public investments in S&T throughout the developing
world are abysmally low, what is more disturbing is the ineffective use of scarce resources. In the
absence of a clear understanding of how investments in S&T enterprise improve the quality of life of
citizens and enhance their security. It is not surprising that developing countries struggle to formulate
and implement knowledge-driven, cost-effective, climate resilient development strategies. Changes in
climate, natural disasters and increasing levels of environmental pollution are likely to aggravate the
governance challenge in developing countries. This paper outlines key pillars of a reorganization
strategy that aims to reenergize Pakistan’s S&T enterprise with the objective of tackling the complex
array of societal challenges that changes in environment are likely to exacerbate. While S&T enterprise
encompasses public and private sector institutions of higher education, research and development, the
focus of this research paper is on the Ministry of Science and Technology – the federal government entity
responsible for planning and management of scientific research and technology development in
Pakistan. After briefly describing the history and evolution of the United States (US) S&T enterprise, the
social and geopolitical context in which Pakistan has planned its past investments in science, technology
and higher education is examined. The author argues, that environmental change and degradation poses
a serious risk to the economic wellbeing of a state and its people. Any effective strategy aimed at
mitigating and managing the adverse impacts must have it at its core the goal of building and sustaining
both public and private sector institutions capable of seeking and fully exploiting relevant scientific
knowledge and technology in pursuit of their respective mission.

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