Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) is the supreme regulatory body of higher education in Pakistan. HEC not only regulates the university education but also funds and provides opportunities for growth and sustainability. There are several programs of HEC for promotion of higher education and research. There are several research grant programs under HEC, like National Research Program for Universities (NRPU), Problem Based Applied Interdisciplinary Research Program (PBAIRP), Startup Research Grant Program (SRGP), Technology Development Fund (TDF), University- Industry Technology Support Program (UITSP), Access to Scientific Instrumentation Program (ASIP), HEC Library for researchers/scholars, HEC National Digital Library program, Outstanding research awards, travel grants for presentation of research papers, and many research linkage programs such as; Pakistan Program for Collaborative Research (PPCR), Pak-US joint Research Program, Pak-France Peridot Research Program etc.There have been some problems in operations of HEC. It would be difficult and complex to comprehend the overall process, progress and state of the affairs at HEC for research and impetus on academic quality assurance, their behaviour university-wise and more importantly distribution of recurring grants, development funds and research grants.This article focuses on distribution and utilisation of research grants under NRPU as a model example.It’s been more than a decade since HEC initiated the NRPU to meet the challenges of researchers working in local universities of Pakistan and to promote the Research and Development (R&D) with facilitation as per researchers’ needs/requirements.Arts and humanities, economic &social research, engineering &physical sciences, medical sciences, biotechnology &biological sciences, natural &environment sciences and science and technology have been focused areas under NRPU for research funding. NRPU funds up to 20 million for each project, however the average amount remains below than half of the upper threshold.So far, the NRPU is the highest rewarded research fund from HEC for research and capacity development for research and researchers. HEC approved 125 projects in 2009-10,153 in 2010-11, 134 in 2011-12,94 in 2012-13, 114 in 2013-14, 189 in 2014-15, 381 in 2015-16, 614 in 2016-17 and 1104 in 2017-18. In last three years, the project distribution province-wise was as 37% Punjab, 36% Federal, 11% Sindh, 14% KPK, less than 1%Baluchistan and 1%AJK.In 2015-16, 36.8%Punjab, 36.31%Federal, 14% Sindh, 12%KPK, 0.4% Baluchistan and AJK each in 2016-17. Similarly,43.30% Punjab, 28.71%Federal, 9.6%Sindh, 13.85% KPK, 1.63% Baluchistan and 2.35%AJK in 2017-18. Similar trends may also be observed in distribution of grants in previous years, which are available in annual reports of HEC.Figures suggest that HEC has given a substantial rise to the number of grants in last four years.The aim of NRPU grants is the facilitation of research infrastructure, equipment, access to scientific literature and exposure to cutting-edge techniques. It further focuses on the enhancement the capacity of researchers to undertake bigger initiatives, which address the local demands. One of the other components involved with locals’ needs is the exploitation of local resources. So far HEC has funded around 3,000 projects under NRPU. Statistics also show that more than 70% of those projects were awarded to Punjab and Federal only most of the times. The wisdom at HEC must change which should be implementation of its policies in letter and spirit rather than creating chaos and discrimination among universities and provincesThe question is did those 3000 project grants, costing billions of rupees from exchequer contributed to the local needs and exploited their very own available resources? Does HEC follow their own research policy and slogan of the NRPU? If yes! What is success rate? 300 inventions or technologies? 200? Or even 100? Then what is contribution of those projects? Many would argue research papers! Publishing research papers and conducting true research is sometimes contradictory. HEC itself and websites like retraction watch (a blog that reports on retractions of scientific papers and on related topics) have reported several Pakistani researchers involved in bogus scientific publications, which brings lot of shame to the country. So, publications cannot be measure of the productivity unless inventions and technologies have been endorsed by scientific community and opted by industrial community.Two provinces, Baluchistan and Sindh are the richest provinces in terms of natural resources and geography and unfortunately both provinces are highly vulnerable to poverty, unsanitary, diseases, natural disasters, drinking and irrigation water, quality food and many other problems. In last ten years Baluchistan could never reach to a share of up 2% in NRPU projects. Amazingly, their share further decreased to 0.4% and 1.63% respectively for year 2016-17 and 2017-18. Even though there were a decent number of project submissions. For instance, for year 2016-17 they submitted 25 projects, out of which 3 were approved. For year 2017-18, the submissions were 50 and 18 were approved. There have also been problems in distribution of awards within provinces. The NRPU grants comes from exchequer and public sector universities must be the priority than private universities. For instance, two public sector universities from Karachi had submitted 11 projects cumulatively (one 4 and other 7) and none of the projects were approved. On the other hand, one private university from Karachi submitted only a one project which was approved. Similarly, a private university within vicinity of Islamabad submitted 30 projects and 12 of them were approved. One more non-public sector medical university from Karachi submitted 21 projects and 12 of which were approved.There seems a glitch in HEC policy and its operation in terms of funds distribution and research focus. However, this seems a ranking competition backed by HEC in which rich is getting richer and poor is getting poorer.The wisdom at HEC must change which should be implementation of its policies in letter and spirit rather than creating chaos and discrimination among universities and provinces. As shown in figures, so far majority of the projects have gone to few universities in federal capital and Punjab, which have failed in bringing inventions and technologies addressing the societal needs and in exploiting local resources. Now this must be the time when equal opportunities should be given to other provinces and universities for research and development. The writer is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director for Quality Enhancement Cell at Dawood University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi, PakistanPublished in Daily Times, March 20th 2019.