Lebanon Businessnews News

Industrialists team up with USEK for research
Nine universities signed up with LIRA program
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The Ministry of Industry, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI), and the Université Saint-Esprit Kaslik (USEK) signed on Tuesday (October 30) an agreement to support student research projects that impact industries.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) falls within the scope of the Lebanese Industrial Research Achievements program (LIRA). The program is funded by the public sector, through the Ministry of Industry, and by the private sector, through ALI. It is implemented by the National Council for Scientific Research.

The program’s main objective is to enhance cooperation between the academic and the industrial sectors. Said Hamadeh, general coordinator of LIRA, said: “We study the needs of industrialists and communicate them to universities.” Universities will assign to post-graduate students projects that match the requirements of industries.

Another MoU will be signed with the Balamand University in two weeks time.
Industries use the research projects done by students to develop their businesses. “Major factories use theses prepared by PhD candidates, while small to medium enterprises use the work of post-graduates,” said Hamadeh. Students, on the other hand, will be allowed to use the equipment and laboratories of the participating factories. “This will also provide students with expertise before they are employed, making it easier for them to find a job,” he said. Other goals of the LIRA program include encouraging industrial firms to upgrade their manufacturing operations.

So far, nine universities have enrolled in the LIRA program: the Lebanese University, the Lebanese American University (LAU), the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Beirut Arab University, the Université Saint Joseph (USJ), the Lebanese International University, the Islamic University, the Notre Dame University, and USEK. The Balamand University will also be added to this list soon.

“Our cooperation with universities has been going on since 1997, but we decided to sign MoUs in order to organize and regulate this collaboration, especially in light of student innovations,” Hamadeh said. He said other universities wishing to collaborate with the program will go through a trial period before signing the MoU.

Benefits of the program have started to surface. According to Hamadeh, “all engineering students who partake in this program are finding employment opportunities immediately after graduation.”

Over a period of 15 years, the LIRA program has helped more than 1,500 students gain expertise, graduate, and find jobs. Industrialists too were able to use academic research in improving the quality of their work.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Oct 31, 2012
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