Pakistani scholar among world’s top young innovators

ISLAMABAD – Associate Professor, School of Science and Engineering, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Dr Umar Saif has been recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the top 35 innovators (TR35) in the world.

He is the first Pakistani scholar to have been selected for the prestigious TR35 award in the last decade, says a press release.
“The TR35 recognizes the world’s top 35 young innovators that are radically transforming technology as we know it. Their work – spanning medicine, computing, communications, energy, electronics and nanotechnology — is changing our world”, according to MIT Technology Review.

Dr Saif has been honoured for his work on technologies for the developing-world. Technologies developed by Dr Saif’s research group and startups are used by millions of people in the developing world, especially BitMate, that enhances the speed of Internet in the developing-world using peer-to-peer technology, and SMSall.pk, Pakistan’s largest SMS Social Network which has sent close to four billion SMS for users in Pakistan.

Dr Saif joins an elite group of researchers and entrepreneurs selected over the last decade. Previous winners include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the co-founders of Google, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, Jonathan Ive, the chief designer at Apple, David Karp, founder of Tumbler; Harvard Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik for his work on Quantum computers, and MIT Neuroscientist Ed Boyden, one of the inventors of the emerging field of optogenetics, which makes it possible to control neurons with light.

MIT Technology Review selects the top innovators after a rigorous evaluation process. The judges, who are leading experts in their fields from universities such as MIT, Stanford and Harvard, consider hundreds of high-impact researchers and entrepreneurs from all over the world, out of which top 35 are chosen for the award.

“This year’s group of TR35 recipients is driving the next wave of transformative technology and making an impact on the way we live, work and interact”, said Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief and publisher of the MIT Technology Review.
Dr Saif has won numerous awards for his innovative technology solutions for the developing-world. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009. He is a recipient of the MIT Technovator Award, Mark Weiser Award, Digital Inclusion Award from Microsoft Research and the IDG Technology Pioneer Award.

Before moving to Pakistan, Dr Saif worked at MIT and received a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust.