Lahore School of Economics

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Scientific Research Imperative for Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development

Bilal U. Haq

Indigenous scientific research is crucial for long-term economic growth and simple transference of technology or buying of expertise has its ultimate developmental limitations. Examples from the hydrocarbon industry clearly illustrate this paradox.

Oil-rich developing countries can afford to import expertise with ease, but rarely develop the new technologies needed for the next methodological breakthrough or paradigm shift. Lack of a culture of open scientific enquiry often underlies this failing. For resource-deficient countries this is compounded by dearth of infrastructure and an often-cited reason is unaffordability. Yet, scientific research does not always require large investments of funds, software development is an apt example. Deficit of scientific research in Pakistan may stem from many of these issues, as well as other encumberments. Innovation and entrepreneurship requires a special mix of encouragements and incentives from the government and industry. In my presentation I will outline some of these issues based on my own experience of over 25 years of research leadership and funding in the US and Europe and my involvement with transference of knowledge to both developing and developed countries. I will also review the reasons for my own scientific career choice and the sense of discovery and fulfillment, as well as the perks, associated with the scientific option.


Bilal Haq, formerly at the US National Science Foundation as the director for Marine Geosciences, is currently a research professor at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and at Sorbonne University in Paris. He is marine geoscientist of worldwide recognition who has been honored by several professional awards in geophysics and marine sciences in the US and Europe. He was elected a member of European Academy of Sciences, and just recently also to the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences, for his seminal works on sea-level change and its impacts on maritime nations. Haq has broad experience in the academia, the industry and the government, and has also held assignments with the White House and the World Bank in Washington DC. He has taught or undertaken research at many universities around the world, including MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris and at Tongji University in China.

In Geosciences Haq’s publications are amongst the most cited and influential. He is been a researcher with very diverse interests, with major contributions to marine geology, paleo-oceanography, paleo-climatology, global and seismic stratigraphy. In addition, his works has been most useful to the industry where the so-called “Haq Sea Level Curves” as invaluable exploration tools worldwide and have also stimulated innumerable Ph.D. theses that has produced a renaissance in the field of sedimentary geology. The influence of this work can also be gauged by the inclusion of one of his paper (Haq et al., 1987) in Science Magazine that is listed among the 100 most influential publications in Geology of all times, a list that includes such luminaries as Lyell, Darwin, Hutton and Milankovitch. Haq has also been honored by his peers, by the naming of a marine plankton species and a fossil Genus after him.

Download Conference Program and Conference Brief (pdf)

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 3/26/2016 01:47:00 PM,

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