Industry and academia unite
Engineering students to benefit from an agreement between LIRA (Lebanese Industrial Research Achievements) and LAU.
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LAU has signed an agreement of collaboration with Lebanese Industrial Research Achievements (LIRA), a program that seeks to bridge the gap between industry, academia, and research centers.
In a ceremony held on April 5 at the Beirut campus, LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra welcomed representatives from Lebanon’s industrial sector, saying the LIRA agreement “goes to the heart of our mission,” epitomizing LAU’s willingness to partner with the government and private sector to “find solutions to modern-day challenges.”
Since its inception 15 years ago, LIRA has worked to address the development needs of Lebanese industry and to promote competitiveness and productivity through innovation. A redoubled focus on collaborations with universities in recent years has triggered something of a renaissance in the program.
The partnership with LAU is expected both to foster new industry-related research projects and to make the engineering curriculum more responsive to industry needs and the job market. Lebanese factories in turn will open their doors to students, providing hands-on experience in both research and production.
“This genuine partnership between the private sector and academia helps industrialists benefit from Lebanon’s strongest asset: its students and their ingenuity,” said Nehmat Frem, president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists.
Minister of Industry Vrej Sabounjian discussed the crucial role of scientific research in innovation, development and industrial modernization, and called for the involvement of the Industrial Research Center.
“Research centers are key to the employment of Lebanese graduates, offering numerous job opportunities and thus stemming the tide of emigration,” he said.
The School of Engineering has been heavily involved with industries in Lebanon over the past years, according to Dr. George Nasr, dean of SOE and professor of electrical engineering. Students have taken on several final-year projects in response to industry needs, as recommended by LIRA. SOE faculty members have also recently conducted several onsite visits organized by the LIRA program.
The official agreement with LIRA therefore enhances an existing “communication line between the school and the industry,” Nasr says.
“Partnerships with such a prominent university are full of promise for the industrial sector, ” said Dr. Mouin Hamze, secretary general of the National Council for Scientific Research, during the signing ceremony.