By: Zaman Bajwa
Islamabad: The United States is a steadfast and long-term partner of Pakistan, especially in the area of energy sector development. On Thursday, November 14, leaders from academia, the private sector, and government celebrated the successes of this partnership: the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Energy (USPCAS-E).
Started in 2014, the U.S.-funded USPCAS-E built Pakistan’s first two centers for specialized education and applied research in the energy sector at the University of Engineering and Technology in Peshawar and the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad.
The $58 million USPCAS-E project is part of USAID’s larger $127 million U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies (USPCAS) project, which convened leaders from academia, government and the private sector around areas critical to Pakistan’s advancement such as energy and water. Over a five-year period (2014-2019), USPCAS connected three American universities with expertise in these sectors with four Pakistani universities to modernize their curricula, conduct joint research, and foster student and faculty exchanges.
Housed in world-class, energy-efficient buildings constructed through USAID assistance, the USPCAS-E centers currently offer Masters and Doctorate programs in energy engineering and management and policy, and provide applied research opportunities in 15 state-of-the-art energy labs. To date, the centers have conferred degrees to more than 300 graduates, completed 48 research projects published in national and international journals, and awarded over 500 scholarships. Additionally, 217 students and faculty have participated in a USAID-funded exchange program at Arizona State University and Oregon State University.
At the closing celebration, USAID’s Mission Director to Pakistan, Ms. Julie Koenen hailed the completion of the five-year project and its positive, long-term impact on Pakistan’s energy sector. “Pakistan and the United States have a long-standing relationship of more than 70 years, and we take pride in being a partner in Pakistan’s development and economic growth,” she stated at the event. Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, also commented on the success of the project as having created one of Pakistan’s premier research institutes equipped to address the country’s energy challenges.