Curiosity sustains research. Therefore, questions must be asked, continuously
Though the space for science has shrunk in Pakistan, a few innovative minds are making the country proud. A scientific approach can serve the society better. Some youngsters are making efforts in the field of science and technology, and they have shown that they can beat anyone.
Recently, Mubashar Rehmani, a young scholar at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, was listed among the world’s best researchers. He received great coverage, but two other Pakistani scholars are also part of the Clarivate list. They are Dr Ibrar Yaqoob and Dr Ejaz Ahmed. Both these scholars are co-authors on many research papers.
Each year, Clarivate identifies the world’s most influential researchers – those cited most frequently by their peers over the last decade. In 2021, fewer than 6,700, or about 0.1 percent of the world’s researchers, in 21 fields across multiple disciplines have been identified.
Dr Ibrar Yaqoob is a research scientist at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Khalifa University, UAE. He has previously worked as a research professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Kyung Hee University, South Korea, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship. He has also worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Mobile Cloud Computing Research (C4MCCR) at the University of Malaya. He received his PhD in computer science from the University of Malaya in 2017. Yaqoob had received his BS. IT (Hons.) degree from the University of the Punjab, Gujranwala campus, in 2012. His numerous research articles are among the most downloaded in top journals. He has been recognised as a highly cited researcher by Clarivate-Web of Science for the year 2021 and is amongst the youngest researchers in the world to achieve this milestone. The young scholar is currently serving as a guest/associate editor for various journals. He has been involved in a number of conferences and workshops in various capacities. His research interests include mobile edge/cloud computing, big data, IoT, blockchain and computer networks.
Most of his highly cited published papers are in the categories of computer science, communication, electrical engineering, telecommunication and library science journals. He has been included in the cross-field category.
Ten of his research articles have been listed as highly cited papers (top 1 percent) by Clarivate.
Dr Ibrar Yaqoob is currently working on several research projects that mainly focus on how to leverage blockchain for healthcare, digital twin, manufacturing industry, cloud computing, supply chain management and physical internet. Leveraging blockchain for various ICT areas can lead to groundbreaking innovations.
Dr Ejaz Ahmed has been in his field for years. He got his early education at Jadoon Public School, Gandhian, Mansehra and Islamia Public High School. Dr Ahmed received his BS in computer science from the Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and MS in computer science from Mohammed Ali Jinnah University (MAJU) Islamabad. He obtained his PhD in computer science from the University of Malaya in 2016.
His research career started during his MS years. After completing his degree, he worked as a research associate at National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad. He later served as a research assistant on a high impact research project during his PhD at University of Malaya, Malaysia. He has also had the opportunity to work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA. NIST is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission is to promote American innovations.
He has published research in more than 75 reputable international journals and conferences. Dr Ejaz Ahmed is currently serving as the editor of IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials. He has also served as associate technical editor of the IEEE communications magazine, IEEE Access, Elsevier Journal of Network and Computer Applications and Elsevier Future Generation Computer Systems.
The scientific approach leads a society on innovative paths. The young scholars are doing their job silently. Pakistan has little space for scientific minds, but Ejaz and Ibrar are our assets.
Pakistan still relies on foreign technologies and is dependent upon countries leading the research in various fields.
When stories of young researchers are highlighted and they get recognition on an international forum, it is a moment to rejoice. On the other hand, they have not received enough recognition in their home country.
“We were listed on merit. We are happy to hear that Dr Mubashar Rehmani is also on the Clarivate list but it is strange that we (Ejaz and Ibrar) were ignored. The discrimination hurts,“ says Dr Ejaz.
“ Most of the researchers in Pakistan are focused on earning a degree or promotions. This kind of research is not product-based. There is a need to broaden the scope of research and collaborate with internationally funded organisations. This will boost the research culture in Pakistan and improve our global visibility.”
The star researcher also says, “we need a change in our research culture. New ideas must be promoted. Senior researchers should encourage junior colleagues. In Pakistan, the research focus is lacking. It cannot be a part-time job. Curiosity, is what sustains it.”
The journey is not a cakewalk.
The writer is a fiction writer, blogger and journalist