Research Resource Centre

Fatima Jinnah Women University

(RRC-FJWU)

1.1 Statement of Purpose

The connection between academia and the professional world is becoming more dynamic as the UN 2030 Agenda emphasises applied research for gaps identification and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Pakistan has displayed a commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as it was one of the first countries to endorse it globally in 2015. On February 16, 2016 the Parliament of Pakistan unanimously approved the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the national development agenda. Parliamentary SDGs Secretariat was also formed which is based at the National Assembly. This legislation process was the first and crucial step in mainstreaming and localising the SDGs. In addition, the government of Pakistan conducted discussions on the post Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with all stakeholders for coordinating and strengthening efforts at federal and provincial levels to achieve Pakistan’s sustainable development and poverty reduction targets. The consultation process emphasised the need for national categorisation of SDGs, improved data collection and enforcement of monitoring mechanisms at the national level. Moreover, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) also emphasise on the alignment of SDGs with the institutions research activities. In this regard, HEC has recently directed universities to settle district research centres in their respective institutions to develop a permanent database on SDGs related variables by undertaking the applied research that would address the key challenges faced by their districts.

The higher education institutions facilitate social, environmental, and economic development. Universities play a dynamic role to promote the SDGs culture, strengthen the collaboration between government, industry and civil society to tackle the challenges regarding economic, administrative, environmental and development. More importantly, HEIs are one of the most significant incubators of ideas and solutions to global problems, and their central position amongst networks of government, civil society and industry partners means that they have vast potential to generate positive impact. Due to which, currently, the international university ranking systems are also benchmarking institutions based on their research contributions towards SDGs. University researchers and students play a pivotal role in knowledge transfer and building tools that SDGs require. The seven pillars of Vision-2025 by Ministry of Planning and Development, Pakistan are entirely aligned with the SDGs, providing a comprehensive long-term strategy for achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development.

1.2 Justification

Universities are considered as leaders in education, research and innovation. They have an imperative role in supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contributing to the achievement of the SDGs, both for implementing active policies and for encouraging other actors to participate. Through their teaching and research, they can involve other actors via collaborative activities to equip them with the skills and capabilities required to achieve the SDGs. Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) being the premier female university of Pakistan, demonstrates a substantial track record in disciplinary research. More than 5000 plus young women pursue their higher studies in this institution and a large number of research has been carried out in diverse fields. Considering the fact that FJWU has embarked on an international ranking initiative and is actively considering alternatives for expanding its research revenue. The establishment of FJWUResearch and Resource Center best caters to its objectives. Such centre will support to channelize the applied research culture as well as assist in overcoming the issue and challenges related to technology, society, economy along with execution of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

1.3 Vision of RRC-FJWU

Enabling effective research that inspires curiosity, advances knowledge and benefits communities related to SDGs variables acting as a catalyst where universities, industries and civil societies network for the benefit of society and citizens.

1.4 Objectives

RRC-FJWU aims to examine:

  1. To maintain a database on SDG’s related variables (i.e., economic, administrative, environmental and developmental) at the district level;
  2. To highlight the role of HEIs in supporting and enhancing the process of economic and social development in Pakistan;
  3. To reflect the SDGs in universities research activities;
  4. To create awareness regarding SDGs at the district level for mapping and aligning research in multiple departments;
  5. To Organize academic activities related to SDGs and collaborations and connections with HEC, governmental and intergovernmental sources.
  6. To establish linkages with international organisations/ universities for research activities.

1.5 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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1.6 Conclusion

Whilst there has been tremendous growth in size, the expansion of higher education (HE) in all parts of the world. A stupendous replication of traditional disciplinary-based techniques of knowledge production has been evident in most HEIs of Pakistan. These have, nevertheless, increased the richness of knowledge about the universe we live in but without apparently translating or transforming the catchment societal environments in terms of measurable productive capacities. Resultantly, an extensive evaluation must be undertaken of the quality of teaching, research and development (R&D) and how universities are meeting the emergent development needs. There are also grave concerns that HEs in most countries, are becoming increasingly obsolete as their development programmes are stultified and not aligned with the need of hour. There are also serious issues regarding the under-performance in research – the state of academic research is less-than-satisfactory in almost all universities. Therefore, universities, particularly in developing countries such as Pakistan, must confront the ‘new realities’ evident in the environments in which they operate. This is the time that Universities embrace the radical change for new synthesis and approaches to transfer their roles in achieving SDGs.