New Initiative Puts Focus on Pakistani Student Members

Helping students understand the value of research

23 January 2013


Back row (left to right): Muhammad Saqib Jamil, Qaisar Ijaz, Farrukh Jamal, Shaukat Hameed Khan, Mehmood Ali, Nisar (dean, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering and Sciences Student Affairs), Usman Mushtaq Dhudhal (chair, IEEE GIKI Chapter). Front row: Shahid Zulfiqar (left), Moazzam Ali Rana (second from the right)

IEEE Member Muhammad Saqib Jamil is founding chairman of the IEEE Research Development Program Pakistan and is the Pakistan representative on the IEEE Region 10 Humanitarian Technology Ad Hoc Committee, as well as general secretary of the IEEE Graduates of the Last Decade Lahore affinity group.

Research has evolved just as mankind has. People from all races have strived to find the purpose of their existence, and that has led them to discover the importance of research and put this research into practical applications for the benefit of humanity.

Among the groups helping others understand the importance of research is the IEEE Graduates of the Last Decade Members in Pakistan, which has been collaborating with student members in the country. It recently launched the IEEE Research Development Program Pakistan (RDPP), an initiative aimed at promoting the concept of research work at the undergraduate level. The initiative was launched at the 2012 IEEE Pakistan Student Congress. The goal is to make linkages between industry and academia by resolving the industry problems through research projects and help students by providing them with training materials; introducing them to innovative methods for analysis, design and manufacturing; expert advice as well as funding for their research projects; and help get them published in IEEE journals and conferences. The initiative achieves this through workshops, seminars, competitions, and conferences, which give students an opportunity to network with professionals and earn scholarships, awards, and certificates.

RDPP is not only confined to promoting research, but also to providing answers to members’ questions about their benefits. In Pakistan, IEEE membership retention is decreasing day by day; when student members don’t receive a response, it compels them to discontinue their memberships. Moreover, students in Pakistan are mostly looking for some innovative things that help them boost their career. IEEE RDPP encourages the hard work of dedicated student members along with GOLD members who help them in achieving their goals. For that purpose, the executive committee of IEEE RDPP has introduced a prestigious award titled the Dr. Muhammad Abdus Salam Highest Achievement Award for Best Researcher. The award was named after the notable scientist who received the 1979 Noble Prize in Physics. The award will be given to a most rewarding student who conducts "exemplary research work in the fields of interests of IEEE."

The executive committee is also introducing two more awards to recognize the efforts of student volunteers: Best Volunteer Award and Best Academic Achievement Award. The motivation for these is that very few awards are offered by IEEE sections, and they are typically given to student branch executives, even if they are not as active or hardworking as other student members of the branch. The first series of awards were given at the closing ceremony of the IEEE Pakistan Student Congress.

Plans are underway to expand the IEEE RDPP initiative to other countries. The RDPP founding executive committee, including Farrukh Jamal, Moazzam Ali Rana, Shahid Zulfiqar, Ahsan Saeed, and Muhammad Usman, has discussed plans to collaborate with IEEE volunteers in other sections around the world, including in Bangladesh, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine. Moreover, we are expecting GOLD members from around the world to contribute and help us enlarge this initiative including n performing joint research projects among student groups from two or three different countries.

We are also thankful to this year's president-elect candidate,  Tariq S. Durrani, for endorsing and appreciating this initiative. Furthermore, all the GOLD members, specifically IEEE Member Muhammad Sohaib Shafqat and advisers to IEEE RDPP, Qaiser Ijaz, Ijlal Haider and Saqib Munnawar, for assisting the founding executive committee in achieving IEEEE RDP Pakistan goals.     

Learn more about IEEE RDPP on its Facebook page.

Photo: Muhammad Saqib Jamil

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