Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday inaugurated the state-of-the-art campus of Pak-Austria Fachhochschule Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (PAF-IAST) in Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the premier said the government is committed to promote science and technology education to equip the youth with future skills to enhance their productivity. He termed the science and technology critical for country’s development. The institute aims to improve credible technical education infrastructure both at tertiary and hi-tech industry levels.
Collaborative venture for skills training
The campus, located nearly two hours away from Islamabad, is nestled in the mountains with lakes in its surroundings, offering a conducive environment for academic activity and innovation. The institute is a collaborative public sector venture in partnership with top Austrian and Chinese universities for quality education, research and technology advancement in Pakistan.
Artificial Intelligence centre
The research centres at the PAF-IAST will be focused on artificial intelligence (AI), railway engineering, nanotechnology, mineral resources and agricultural technologies. Sino-Pak Centre of Artificial Intelligence will be established at the institute with the core objective “to build national capacity to carry out research and development in the field of artificial intelligence” by introducing bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programmes in collaboration with Chinese and Austrian universities. The centre aims to usher other Pakistani educational institutes and industries into the era of artificial intelligence.
A technology park would be established at PAF-IAST to foster innovation at national level and improve the economy. To boost innovation, faculty members will be offered an average grant of $50,000 to develop new projects. A total sum of $10 million will be spent on the technology park projects to be implemented in collaboration with scientists of Austrian and Chinese partner universities.
Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, Chairman Advisory Board of PAF-IAST, believes the institute is “a leap forward” to improve the quality of human resource that can “contribute significantly to the national economy and prosperity of the society”.