President Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday Jammu and Kashmir is emerging as a knowledge hub in the country with nine universities and more than 300 affiliated colleges. He said all these institutions would benefit by collaborating in teaching and research and establishing the common research facilities.
Addressing the 14th convocation of the University of Jammu, he called upon the university to move towards establishing research clusters to
enable scholars and faculty members to explore emerging research areas, especially related to local and regional needs, and to collaborate with industry and research organisations.
The president said the universities today need to become drivers of innovation. "Their (universities) focus should be on collaborative relationships with the industry and government. Entrepreneurial activities in the universities could take various forms such as contract research, consultancy, patenting, licensing, spin outs, start-ups, incubating companies etc." he said.
The President congratulated the Jammu University on it being listed as one of the twenty-nine universities in the country under the "Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE)" programme of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
He said the setting up of the National Apple Germplasm Repository on its campus in Bhaderwah is indeed an important step towards conservation of an important genetic resource of the country.
The university has also hosted, for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir, the 101st session of the Indian Science Congress.
He said these recognitions are a tribute to the quality of leadership as also, in equal measure, to the untiring efforts of the faculty, research and technical staff, students and all other stakeholders.
The function was attended by Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra, who is the chancellor of the university, and chief minister Omar Abdullah who is also pro-chancellor of the varsity.
In total, 67 candidates who completed their doctorates in 2013 in seven faculties shall be awarded PhD degrees and 68 candidates were awarded with the gold medal and cash awards.
Noting some of the landmarks that the University of Jammu achieved in academic field, the president said as with everything else in the field of education, there is the need to constantly strive for excellence in a global order which is dynamic, ever-changing and dismissive of mediocrity.
Noting that an important focus area is the role of innovation in higher education, Mukherjee said several policy initiatives have been taken in this area and they need to be implemented effectively to revitalise and boost the higher education framework.
Students must be given complete flexibility and be benefited by the expertise and infrastructure available in other universities and institutions of higher learning.
"This kind of flexibility will create an environment conducive to innovation and promote inter-disciplinary approaches. It will also expand access while making the best use of technology," Mukherjee said.