Ms Mehnaz Zainab
Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences(PIEAS) is one of the leading science and technology universities of Pakistan. It is under the umbrella of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and also main human resource provider for the commission. It was established as university under Presidential Charter in the year 2000. Since grant of degree awarding status, PIEAS has progressed by leaps and bounds in spite of its recent inception. Its graduates join not only the strategic commissions as young officers to serve the country but also join work in national and international industries and organizations.
Historically, PIEAS had begun as a Reactor School in 1967 within PINSTECH for training nuclear engineers for the burgeoning nuclear industry in Pakistan. Later it was named as Centre for Nuclear Studies (CNS) in 1976, as it incorporated more engineering academic programs, and finally as PIEAS. In 2000, after granting of charter as a university by the Government of Pakistan with the President as its Chancellor, PIEAS was able to expand its academic repertoire to other engineering fields allied to nuclear engineering and has rapidly become the best ranking university in its category at national and international levels. Currently it offers doctoral programs in Nuclear, Mechanical, Electrical, Materials, and Chemical Engineering disciplines, and in the following sciences programs: Medical Physics, Physics, Radiation Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Biotechnology, and Biological Sciences.
MS/ M.Phil. graduates comprise the highest percentage of the student body in PIEAS, which is 75% with 4148 graduates till the year 2021, the BS graduates form 20% of the students with 1093 undergraduates passed, while the Ph.D. scholars are 5% of the student body with 309 doctoral degrees awarded up till 2021. 300 PhD graduates may appear a small number but achieving it in 20 years and that too in specialized areas of engineering and applied sciences is really a boastful number. Among Pakistan’s engineering universities, PIEAS holds the honor of the awarding highest number of doctoral degrees to scientists and engineers in Pakistan. Graduate fellowships for MS/ M.Phil. are offered to students of diverse social backgrounds and exceptional academic record in the following disciplines: Nuclear Engineering, Nuclear Power Engineering, Systems Engineering, Mineral Resource Engineering, Electrical Engineering (Power), Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials engineering, and Process Engineering. From 1971 to 2021, approximately 4338 fellows have successfully graduated from PIEAS and are serving Pakistan in various important capacities in the Strategic Commissions under NCA, and in international nuclear organizations such as the IAEA. PIEAS has also rapidly expanded its undergraduate program in currently relevant engineering fields and market demands. The undergraduate programs are offered at affordable fees to outstanding students from all over Pakistan; in Chemical, Electrical, Mechanical, and Materials and Metallurgy Engineering, and Computer Sciences and Physics. More undergraduate programs are in the pipeline to cater to emerging national technological needs.
Besides offering the above academic programs through the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Applied Sciences within PIEAS, other constituent colleges include Karachi Institute of Power Engineering (KINPOE), National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) and Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB) in Faisalabad, and National Institute of Lasers and Optronics (NILOP) in Islamabad.
PIEAS is also highly active at international forums such as CERN and IAEA. It is a regular member of CERN training and internships programs. PIEAS scientists have contributed effectively in the IAEA-PIEAS Collaborating Centre established in 2019 in terms of research, development, and capacity building for multidisciplinary applications of advanced and innovative nuclear technologies and reactor designs. PIEAS is also a profound part of Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Nuclear Security in Pakistan along with PCENS (SPD) and NISAS (PNRA). A PIEAS faculty member is currently serving as Chair of International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres (NSSC Network), a pride for PIEAS.
PIEAS actively participates in the Joint Program of Lindau Council (Germany), Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), and PIEAS in which outstanding science students interact with Nobel Laureates at Lindau for knowledge sharing in the fields of Physiology and Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Economic Sciences. In the past, PIEAS has attracted international students from several nations such as Jordan, Indonesia, Libya, Iraq, Myanmar, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, who have graduated in Nuclear Engineering and Medical Physics from PIEAS. More international students are expected to join PIEAS in the near future. Around 41 international alumni from various countries have graduated from PIEAS up till 2021. A dedicated International Student Office facilitates the current and prospective international students at PIEAS.
A distinguishing feature of PIEAS is its highly qualified faculty, which is also its greatest strength. This exceptional Institute boasts of the highest number of engineering and science doctorates in its faculty team among Pakistan’s engineering universities, with 93 doctorates among 157 faculty members (around 59% of the faculty) graduated from some of the best international universities.
PIEAS faculty and graduates are working on varied research areas, some of them in collaboration with international researchers, centres of excellence and universities in the following areas: Advanced Polymeric Materials, Applications of Finite Element Method, Atmospheric Modeling, Bio-Photonics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Control & Automation, Cyber Security, Image Processing, Medical Physics, Micro and Nano Devices, Nano Materials, Nuclear Medicine and Oncology, Nuclear Reactor Design, Nuclear Safety and Security, Polymer Chemistry and Synthesis, Quantum Optics and Quantum Computing, Radiation Physics, Robotics, Scientific Computing and Turbo Machinery. More collaborations are in the offing as PIEAS looks to increase its international stature as a premiere research university in science and engineering fields.
PIEAS researchers are working on various cutting edge research projects and have internationally published research articles and books on science and engineering topics with high impact factor publications. The data of publications from 1998-2021 indicates that approx. 3701 publications have been made in high impact ISI journals, also 18 books and 39 chapter contributions printed by local and international publishers. While the total citations amount to 35871, which is a remarkable figure for a comparatively new research university.
The recently established Centre for Mathematical Sciences is thriving to stimulate research, collaboration, and networking in the area of Mathematics such as quantum computing, Reactor Physics Code Development, and Plasma Modeling and Simulations.
Although PIEAS is mainly a science and engineering university, it has also focused on the area of management and leadership training of executive engineers and scientists involved in managing engineering projects. Department of Communication and Management Sciences (DCMS) was established in 2006 to conduct executive training for managers of the Commissions from middle to higher management. DCMS has been recently upgraded and a School of Leadership and Policy Studies (SLPS) has been established to cater the profound need for executive training in varied areas of management, leadership and policy making. The management courses are now being conducted by the SLPS. These management and leadership courses have served to strengthen the professional bonds among scientists and engineers involved in management and policy making at all tiers of the hierarchies of the Commissions.
A state of the art library caters to the growing body of science and engineering students and research faculty. It is an ever expanding project with new books, journals and other titles being continuously added to the collection.
PIEAS has consistently encouraged women researchers in all science and engineering fields. Currently, PIEAS is hosting the IAEA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program (MSCFP) which awards medical sciences fellowships to female students with complete fee waiver in MS Radiation and Oncology, MS Nuclear Medicine, and MS Medical Physics programs.
In addition to its highly focused engineering and science academic programs, PIEAS is also rendering remarkable services in the national STEM program as Centre of Excellence in STEM testing and training in Physics and Mathematics. Its STEM trainees have won several Silver and Bronze medals and Honorable Mentions at international science and technology competitions. As a gesture of encouragement to future science and engineering genius students, PIEAS offers BS admission to participants of International Olympiads without entry test.
It is notable that PIEAS graduates have consistently received Presidential and national awards in science and engineering research and academic endeavors, such as Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Aizaz-e-Kamal, Pride of Performance and Best Teacher Awards. In March 2022, the former founding Director General of PIEAS, Dr. Inam-ur-Rahman, was awarded Hilal-e-Imitaz by the President of Pakistan for his meritorious services in science and engineering in Pakistan.
The outstanding quality and work ethic of PIEAS graduates have remained their hallmarks since the creation of this institute, and they have achieved high stature as technical professionals both inside and outside Pakistan.
Since the introduction of QS international rankings criteria by HEC in 2018, PIEAS has consistently retained rank No 1 and 2 among Pakistani engineering universities with around 99% normalized score. While on international level, PIEAS has been ranked 373rd university in 2020-21, beginning in 397th position in international QS rankings in 2018-19.
In short, PIEAS has been a consistent source of high quality science and technology education in Pakistan since its inception. And it has only added to its long list of achievements in service of this nation in the preceding years. In future, it is expected to develop further in academia and research due to the indefatigable spirit of its faculty and students.
The author is Associate Professor at PIEAS and can be reached through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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