Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC)

Dr Nadeem Lehrasab
Director Technical IRC
PhD, University of Birmingham, UK
The aim of the IRC is to bridge the gulf between academia and industry by providing, within a legal framework, a solid and reputable platform to the academic community for delivering projects within time, cost and quality. The IRC is registered as a private limited company. It is thus able to pick up projects from the industry. The successful completion of projects results in training of faculty and students as well as to accrue some financial benefits for the University. The students get an opportunity to experience the real world and resultantly are able to upgrade their knowledge and skills. A registered, private and limited company is able to sign MoUs and bid for projects with the sponsoring organizations, may they be private or public.
Inter-disciplinary Research Centre is a unique university industry linkage that is different from existing models of such linkages such as research/science parks or technology incubation centers. These models require investment and government funding for sustained and uninterrupted support for a substantial amount of time.
Technology/Science parks are dependent on the flow of either outsourced work or the industry especially high tech industry which is almost absent. On the other side the absence of pure research due to financial constraints of universities and government fundings further makes it impossible to enjoy the luxury of pure research making the possibility of high tech spin off companies almost impossible.
The best high tech technologies that can be sustained here is system integration of the existing technology from established high technology companies and provide technology mediation services. This gives the opportunity to faculty, staff and the regional end users of that technology to directly benefit and open doors for healthy and economically mutual viable interaction between industry (end users), university (academia) and the technology companies (industry).
The Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC) and Collaborative Project Support Program (NI-CPSP) at Air University has the potential to substantially help end users to reduce their development time and save budget through sustainable Human Resource Development while building more confidence of technology companies in investing in the country.
As an additional benefit using the existing brand of the world class company, the university has the opportunity to sell its know-how and research through the worldwide sales channels and platform of the collaborating technology company.
Our maiden collaboration with National Instruments has proved to be a successful role model. A MoU for enhanced support and joint projects was signed early this year. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 5,200 employees and direct operations in more than 40 countries. For the past 12 years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America. National Instruments (www.ni.com) is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype and deploy systems for measurement, automation and embedded applications. NI empowers customers with off-the-shelf software such as NI LabVIEW and modular cost-effective hardware, and sells to a broad base of more than 30,000 different companies worldwide, with no one customer representing more than 4 percent of revenue and no one industry representing more than 15 percent of revenue.
Pakistan Army Aviation workshop responsible for overhauling Lycoming 360E Engines required the automation of their test-bed that was established in 1981. The original test bed was equipped with aircraft panel instruments and a mechanical sensor. The test-bed operation and data logging was manual.
The Air university team provided a complete automation solution with seamless integration of the hardware (cDAQ, PXI and SCXI) and software (DAQmx and LabVIEW). The project was completed in a short period of 45 days while satisfying the end-user with its performance, reliability and accuracy.
The Project was formally inaugurated on January 21, 2010 and an MOU was signed between Aviation Command Pakistan Army and Air University to further enhance research collaboration between the two organizations. In particular an interest was expressed in collaborating on the automation of the workshops universal jet engine test bed.
Technology Mediation includes trainers who prepare instructional materials and teach classes on technology use, technical support personnel who configure the technology, experts who resolve thorny technical problems, administrators who issue policy and practice guidelines for use, sales people who persuade users to adopt specific technical innovations, and even lead users who have acquired adequate technical proficiency that they can advise or improve other users on technology interactions. These actors all play a role in customizing the technology to its context of use, in shaping users' understanding of the technology, and in establishing users' work habits around the technology.
On-campus with internships opportunities for Direct Interaction National Instruments
IRC provides internship opportunities for students during the summer break with opportunities to work directly under the supervision of NI engineers. National Instruments a, world leader in instrumentation and measurement, is committed to enhancing engineering and science education worldwide by providing flexible software and modular hardware that work with mainstream computing technologies to help integrate theoretical concepts with real-world applications.
Short Courses, Hands-onTraining, and Skill Development Services. With a view to overcoming the theory practice gap between academia and industry IAA has established a purpose built Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC). This centre identifies high-tech domains and enabling technologies, the know-how of which can provide a competitive edge to the local industry. The HRDC runs specialist short courses to enhance the skill set of an engineer in the field of instrumentation and measurement.