Funmi Lawrence, Abuja
Dr Danazumi Ibrahim, Director General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), has called for a strong partnership between the academia and industrialists in promoting research and technology.
Ibrahim was speaking in Abuja on Wednesday at the inaugural meeting of the Igbinedion University Industry-Academia Board Meeting.
The NOTAP DG, who is also the Chairman of the board, lamented that the country cannot grow with over 90 per cent of her technology imported.
He said there was need for the partnership in order to generate local technologies capable of translating into products and services for national development.
He added that unless the academia and the industry come together, the research and development efforts of the country cannot lead to economic development.
According to him, our quest to develop economically cannot be unconnected with the need to establish a very strong bond between the academia and the industry.
“Nigeria is a country that is developing but more than 90 per cent of the technologies are imported, there is no way a country will develop by continuing in people’s technology.
“We have to generate our own technology; we need to begin to develop local technologies. We have competencies in the universities, polytechnics and research establishments.
“We cannot continue to rely on international technology. Technology is what demarcate between developed and developing countries and the product of the technology emanates from the academia.
“If universities come up with technologies and those technologies are not taken up by the industries, we will have no economic value.
“So the essence of this board is to see how we synergise and bring in the necessary linkages between the academia and the industry so that what is coming out from the academia is now translated to products and services by the industry,’’ he said.
Ibrahim, therefore, commended the university’s foresight as it was desirous of establishing linkages that has the potential of growing and earning resources outside their budget.
He, however, called for more funding into the country’s educational sector in order for research to take the lead in reshaping the focus of the country.
“The scenario in Nigeria is so pathetic. This is because like any other sector, the education sector is not well funded and when this happen, the research and development is most affected.
“We don’t have enough funds to undertake research. Many academias used their own money to sponsor research and also publish to get promoted.
“So when you don’t have funds to undertake research, what comes out eventually may not translate to products and services that will benefit the country,’’ he added.
Ibrahim urged universities to always develop their competencies to reach out to the industries while also protecting their intellectual assets.
Meanwhile, Prof. Charity Emaviwe, a professor of Law, Igbinedion University Okada, emphasised the need for Universities, Industries and Government to meet to foster economic and national development through researches.
Emaviwe, who is also a member of the board, said the university was working towards strengthening the established Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with industries to promote development in the country.
“The food that is being cooked in the Universities is research, but who is going to eat the food? The people that will eat the food are in the industries because they are the end users.
“So it is important for the Universities to know the type of food that can be cooked in the industry. So what we do is to go to the Industries and find out what is their challenges and then come back to the University for solutions.
“Also, through the government, there can be regulation of the relationship between the academia and the industries.’’
Also, Dr Queeneth Omoyibo, a Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department of the university, said that acceptability of academia by the industry had been a major challenge which must be addressed.
Omoyibo said that NOTAP involvement would open a new vista between the academia and industrialists for the technological development in the country.