Int’l conference on life sciences kicks off at FCC

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Forman Christian College (FCC) Biological Sciences department has organised a three-day “International Conference on Emerging Trends in Life Sciences for Sustainable Development” with the cooperation of ECO Science Foundation on Thursday. The conference has attracted over 200 participants.

The conference was sponsored by the European Union, ICLS, Global Liberal Arts Alliance (USA), the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (Washington DC), Pakistan Academy of Sciences, COMSTECH and the HEC.

Dr Kauser Abdulla Malik, Dean of FCC’s Postgraduate Program and Chair of the Conference organising committee, welcomed the guests who came from 14 countries in addition to Pakistan. He spoke of the great developments in life sciences in the last century, focussing on health, environment and agriculture. The FCC had initiated three MPhil and a PhD program, as well as projects in these fields and was fortunate to attract several competitive research grants. He described the FCC’s ongoing research projects in food security, biofertilisers, energy, health and environment. These were all related to sustainable development, a core objective of the FCC’s Biological Sciences department. Thanking the co-sponsor and donors, he said it was important to have a regional approach to solve problems.

ECO Science Foundation President Dr Manzoor Soomro described the work of the ECOSF which is a specialised agency of the Economic Cooperation Organisation with the mandate to promote scientific research and collaboration in member countries to lead to economic development.

ECO Deputy Secretary General Dr Hayri Maraslioglu spoke of the work of the ECO and how it encourages sustainable development through economic integration and regional cooperation between its 10 member states. One way of strengthening scientific cooperation was through organising such conferences which build institutional linkages. He spoke of his pleasure at being in the historic and vibrant city of Lahore and congratulated the FCC on its 150th anniversary.

Dr Marie-Francoise Saron represented the European Union at the inauguration. She expressed the hope the conference would bring new projects which the European Union could support.

A recorded message of welcome from the FCC Rector Dr James Tebbe was broadcasted since he was not in the country. FCC Dean of Sciences and Acting Vice Rector Dr Sufian Aslam also greeted the guests and welcomed this opportunity for exchanging ideas. Concluding the inauguration, Chief Guest LUMS Chancellor Syed Babar Ali expressed his pleasure that there was participation from across the science and engineering disciplines which would provide solutions to benefit society as a whole. Wishing the conference success, he suggested issues which could be focused on such as cleaning the River Ravi. This would benefit millions of people who lived downstream, help improve health and the environment and provide economic benefits to the population.

Over 200 abstracts were received for the conference. To ensure participants would get maximum benefit from hearing about new research, parallel sessions will be held over three days. In addition there will be a poster session as well as exhibition. The conference ends on Saturday 11 October.