• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Varsities need to engage in innovative research to attain globally relevance’


Olusegun Adewoye, former director general of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has said the many research institutes and centres in tertiary institutions across the country have rather been more dependent on subventions from the authorities than becoming productive, where research findings could be harnessed to fashion out industrial designs and production formulations.

As a result, Adewoye, while speaking as a guest lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt’s second Science Research fair and conference, said the research institutes and centres which are not producing useful research outcomes for the nation’s science and technology advancement “should be scraped” immediately.

The former NASENI director general’s lecture which was titled: “Science, Engineering Technology and Innovation for Fast-tracked and Sustainable Development in a Globalised Economy,” delivered at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium of the University of Port Harcourt, stressed the importance of Nanotechnology, the application of advanced manufacturing to agriculture and minerals.

He challenged all research institutes in the country to be involved in innovative research that can be patented and generate industrial products and money generated through export of such products for the university and the country in general.

Adewoye, who is also a professor of Materials at the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, Nigeria; a private research university with a focus on African development in science and technology; while emphasising the importance of investing in the acquisition of technological knowledge that would enhance development, warned that Nigeria should not glory in having abundance of raw materials; stating that, “knowledge is more important than the abundance of raw materials.”

He blamed the nation’s leadership for the challenges of science, technology and development in Nigeria; and called for government to declare a national emergency on science and technology development in the country.

“Our leaders do not know how to grow the economy and build a nation. If our leaders are proactive and initiate programmes and policies that would create jobs, there would be fewer conflicts in our society; and the country will develop faster,” Adewoye stated.

He therefore, called for the establishment of a Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education; saying this could be achieved by the “fussing of science and technology with higher education.”

The former NASENI boss called on directors of institute and research centres in the universities that would only be pursuing the vice chancellors for funding, to resign, as they do not know their jobs as heads of such centres.

Directors of research institutes and centres, according to Adewoye, are supposed to be proactive by constantly coming out with new research designs and formulations; and submitting same to their universities VCs, which would then attract more funding for them; and not running after the VCs, asking for more funding, without any research outcomes to show for it.

At the same occasion, Noble Pepple, the chairman of the science research fair and executive director of Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), said, innovations and entrepreneurship are the key drivers to national development.

Pepple said he was convinced that it was the acknowledgment of this fact by the Federal Government that explained the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, and the inclusion of entrepreneurial training in the schools’ curriculum.

The RSSDA boss, who was represented by Blessing Daniel-Kalio, the general manager in charge of business development and job creation, urged universities to invest heavily in innovative researches and ensure production of new products and services that would address identified development gaps in the nation, as obtained in developed countries.