• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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‘Funding, power, political commitment obstacles to academic research in higher institutions’

UNILAG crisis: Visitation panel submits report to FG

As the back and forth posture between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government on the right modalities for funding tertiary institutions in Nigeria continue unabated, the vice chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Michael Ologunde, has stated that the university community in Nigeria needs proper funding to produce quality academic research materials.

“many challenges, including funding, power and political commitment are expected surmountable obstacles along the path of breaking into the world of miniaturization,” said Ologunde. He stated this at the recently concluded 3rd edition of the annual workshop and conference organised by LAUTECH Nanotechnology Research Group (NANO+), themed “Nanotechnology in Africa: Opportunities and Constraints”.

Ologunde posited that nanotechnology presents opportunities to solve the continent’s myriads of problems ranging from food production and storage, to disease control and environmental remediation.

“I have strong belief that the crop of scientists behind the promotion of nanotechnology as a frontier of knowledge has the wherewithal to take the University, our dear nation and indeed the African Continent to greater heights in knowledge dissemination and advancement of humanity,” said Ologunde.

However, he assured that the University would continue to invest in the provision of an enabling environment and equipment that would spur cutting-edge and translational research for the benefit of humanity.

Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of science and technology, represented by Kelechi Ebisike, head, Research and Development, Engineering Materials Development Institute (EMDI), Akure, noted that “local content drives a nation, and build a strong GDP base for any nation.”

According to the minister, President Muhammadu Buhari is interested in local content of any technology, same way the ministry of Science and Technology is interested in promoting local content. The minister however urged researchers in the country to come up with findings that will proffer meaningful and measurable solutions to problems, “the ministry of Science and Technology is open to research that would bring about developmental growth of our great nation, Nigeria.”

Onu equally congratulated the group on efforts taken to develop necessary skills among up-coming and early career researchers, which he stated will help nurture nanotechnology skilled man-power base for scientific and technological advancement.

Agbaje Lateef, Head, Nanotechnology Research Group (NANO+), LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, said the conference is aimed at promoting discourse on nanotechnology among academia, technocrats, policy makers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, students and the general public.

According to him, the science of ‘nanomaterials’ has come to stay with mankind, as it has been discovered that this novel utilization of resources can lead to creating new range of materials to solve myriads of problems that confront mankind ranging from food insecurity, insecurity and terrorism, diseases, energy crisis, pollution, water scarcity, climate change, unemployment among others.

Lateef opined that concerted efforts should be made by all stakeholders in the country to ensure research and development in nanotechnology is prioritized for the benefits of the country. “…we have identified adequate funding, provision of functional facilities, curriculum development and re-engineering, development of national policy on nanotechnology, and manpower development as critical inputs needed to position Nigeria as a player in nanotechnology R&D in Africa,” he stated.