Economists at the inaugural session of a two-day conference stressed the need for increasing the opportunities of research and innovation for university students to reduce the dependence on foreign technologies. In doing so, they favoured formation of an endowment fund and increasing the private sector investment. Bangladesh Economics Teachers Association (BETA) arranged the national conference on Friday at Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University here, said an official handout. Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu spoke on the occasion as the chief guest. President of the association Professor Dr ATM Jahirul Haque presided over the function while general secretary of the organization M Abub Taher gave the welcome speech. Among others, member of University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof Dr Muhibur Rahman, pro vice-chancellor Dr Sohid Akhter Hossain and chairman of NC Bank Mohammad Nurul Amin also spoke. The speakers suggested for effectively maintaining industry-institution alliance for giving a big boost to the country’s industrialization process. They also underlined the need for setting up quality assurance cell in each educational institution and a national level assurance accreditation council to this end. Speaking on the occasion, Amir Hossain Amu mentioned the government’s multifarious steps for which the country’s rural economy turned around during the period from 1996 and 2001. Amu said no Bangladeshi lost job during the period when world’s many giant economies including the US had to cut jobs for many. Instead, he said, Bangladesh had created new employments for many jobless people. Now the country witnessed no monga (famine-like situation) among the lower and middle-class families at rural areas, said the minister.