Islamabad (Agencies): The Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives formally inaugurated three Centers of Excellence, including the National Center for Manufacturing (NCM), National Center for Quantum Computing (NCQC), and National Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (NCNN).

The launching event took place at the Planning Ministry with Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Professor Ahsan Iqbal, as the chief guest. Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Zahid Akram Durrani, Secretary of the Ministry of Planning, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, and Vice-Chancellors (VCs) of universities were also in attendance.

These centers will be established at prominent institutions such as Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIK Institute – GIKI), NED University of Engineering and Technology (Karachi), Al-Khawarizmi Institute of Computer Science (University of Engineering and Technology – UET, Lahore), and NUST (Islamabad).

The NCQC aims to foster a culture of innovation, nurture new thinkers, and catalyze Pakistan’s digital transformation in the field of quantum computing. The center will serve as a hub for academic research, technological innovation, and industry applications.

Notably, in 2017, the Planning Ministry launched seven other centers, including the National Center of Robotics and Automation (NCRA), National Center of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) at NUST, National Center for Cyber Security (NCCS) at the Air University, National Center in Big Data and Cloud Computing (NCBC), National Center GIS Space Applications (NCGSA), and National Center for Livestock Breeding, Genetics & Genomics (NCLBG&G) under Vision-2025.

Minister Ahsan Iqbal emphasized that these centers have been established to equip the country’s youth to face upcoming technological challenges. He stressed the significance of knowledge and technology as weapons for a nation’s success in the century of innovations.

Under the Vision-2025 initiative, various steps have been taken to empower the country’s youth through education. The budget of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has been increased from Rs. 40 billion to Rs. 70 billion, a first in the country’s history, as stated by the Minister. He urged the VCs to play a constructive role in enhancing the teaching system of higher education.

Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, commended Pakistan’s exciting journey in the realm of science and technology, highlighted by the establishment of centers of Nano Technology, Quantum Computing, and New Manufacturing.

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