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SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY

Bridging Technology Transfer Gap Between Industry, Academia

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Technology transfer has been identified as one of the most important tools that drive the rapid industrialization and invariably the economic development of a nation. It has been identified as a major key driver that facilitates the technology transfer of knowledge from experts to those who under-learn from them to gain knowledge that would drive national development.

However, there is always a seismic gap among the most important key stakeholders in the science and technology development sector. There is a significant gap between the key players which are the academia, in charge of churning out research and innovations in the sector, the industry players, who take these technologies and commercialise them to solve challenges in the society and the government whose job is often times to regulate these technologies.

The need to bridge this gap among the trio and facilitate the rapid socio-economic development of the nation cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria needs to borrow a leaf from developed countries who have been able to bridge this gap, where we see situations where the industries work in direct correlation with the academia to conduct research and come up with ground breaking innovations needed in the society to address pressing challenges instead of working in silos and having situations where the academia conducts research and comes up with innovations not needed in the society that seat in shelves just to aid and facilitate their promotion.

In recognition of the above, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has lauded the partnership between the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), a government institution and an industry player, PZ Cussons Nigerian PLC for effective and result-oriented collaboration to facilitate technology transfer.

He gave the commendation when he commissioned a multimillion naira chemical engineering laboratory of Alex-Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike, Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), Ebonyi State. The facility was equipped through collaboration between NOTAP and PZ Cussons Plc to upgrade the laboratories of some selected knowledge institutions across the six geopolitical zones of the country to ensure a rapid development of skilled manpower in the country.

The minister said industry must work closely with the university because universities are the home of researches and when there is synergy, researches carried out in the universities would be such that would solve the problems of the industry. He added that with this kind of collaboration, commercialization of research findings might not be a problem because industry would be very ready, willing and committed in ensuring that such research results are commercialized and  made available in the market as products.

According to him, Nigeria cannot become a truly great nation if we continue to depend on other nations to meet our demands. He cited Japan, China, India and other countries as nations that should be emulated as they have taken their citizens out of poverty through research and innovation.

He however decried the use of alternative to practical in teaching students in our institutions, stressing that students cannot be skilled enough when they are not taken through the practical aspect of their courses of study, urging the nation’s knowledge institutions to fully embrace practical to ensure that students graduate with technical skills that can dovetail into improved techno-economic growth of the nation.

In his remarks, the director-general of NOTAP, Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim thanked the minister for always making himself available for commissioning of projects by NOTAP especially upgraded laboratories in the knowledge institution donated by PZ Cussons.

He recalled that in carrying out the registration of technology transfer agreements which is the primary function of NOTAP, it was discovered that over 90 per cent of the technologies powering Nigerian economy are foreign and for a country that is striving to develop and become one of the highest economies in the world, the situation was unacceptable.

He said PZ had upgraded three chemical laboratories and were ready and willing to upgrade more three including the just commissioned one in AE-FUNAI. He thanked the management of PZ for its interest in developing Nigeria technologically and therefore urged other multinationals to emulate PZ.

In his address, the chief executive officer of PZ Cussons, Mr Christos Giannopoulos said the commissioning of the project was in furtherance of the agreement the company had with NOTAP to commit resources towards provision of state-of-the-art equipment in some selected Nigerian universities and research centers.

He said the agreement was necessitated by the fact that no meaningful breakthrough can be achieved in scientific inquiries without necessary facilities and infrastructure that can compete globally.

He thanked NOTAP and the minister for the support and trust in the ability of the company and promised the company would do more when necessary. He added that the rumour that PZ Cussons was leaving Nigeria was not true as the company is investing more in the country.

A statement by the agency’s public relations officer, Mr Raymond Ogbu, said the vice chancellor of the iniversity, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba thanked the ministry for the interest in the institution, saying the laboratory would improve the academic and research standings of the students and staff.

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