The Third World Academy of
Sciences (TWAS) at its meeting held on Oct. 15, 1990 in Caracas,
Venezuela took the historic decision of setting up 20 large
International Centers for Science and High Technology so that
the developing countries could compete with the advanced Western
nations in key scientific fields and catch up in critical
areas of technology.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan chaired a meeting of COMSATS (Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South) on 4th and 5th October, 1994 which was attended by Ministerial level representatives of some 40 Third World Countries. Inspite of alternative proposals and vigorous efforts from China, Brazil, India and other Countries, it was agreed in the meeting that the first International Center for Science and Technology would be established at the H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry of Karachi University.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the project for the establishment of the International Centre by upgradation of H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry at a cost of Rs. 477 million with a foreign exchange component of Rs. 217 million.
With this, Pakistan was presented with a golden opportunity of establishing a really large science center in the field of chemical sciences. The construction of new laboratory building, auditorium and guest house and student hostel began in 1997 and was completed in 2001.
20 Acres of land for this purpose was provided by the University of Karachi. The new center is working as a part of the H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry and a number of new disciplines such as Genetic Engineering, Plant Biotechnology, Computational Chemistry, Textile and Food Chemistry, Biosynthesis, Tropical Disease Research Lab, Spectroscopy and Cancer Research were initiated in the center. Nuclei of some of these new fields such as Parasitology and Antimalarial Lab., Enzyme Inhibition Lab., Tissue-Culture and Cell-Culture Labs have also been established.
A number of new instruments have been ordered for the institute which include two Bruker 500 MHz NMR and two advance 400 AMX, Jeol 600 medium resolution mass spectrometer, applied biochem. amino acid sequencer, element analyzer, microtitre plate readers, a new 250 KVA UPS and two diesel generators, etc. Library of the institute is in the process of computerization, which will be accessible through the internet.
In 2004, CDWP approved a project for the strengthening of H.E.J. Research Institute, through which a new research building ( Sq.ft.) is recently constructed and several major instrumental facilities were acquired. The industry-related projects to be conducted in the Institute will provide a significant boost to the local industry and the applied nature of the research programs will have a good impact on the economic development of Pakistan. Chemistry plays a vitally important role in industry and its wide ramifications can be seen from its applications in the fields of medicine (pharmaceuticals), agricultural sciences (insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, etc.), polymer sciences (synthetic fibers, plastics, paints), cement industry, glass technology, iron and petroleum industry, ceramics, soap and detergent, leather, textile, etc. In short, it would be fair to state that there is no other single scientific discipline of more significance than chemistry in national development.