Experts canvass need to equip research institutions for innovation

Experts have stressed the need to equip research institutions to help resolve market and system failures that have been a hindrance to innovation in Nigeria.
They said this is pertinent, as innovation is very critical for a nation’s economic development.
Chairman, Technical Committee, Nigeria Triple Helix Roundtable, Tope Toogun, at a webinar-based programme, themed: “How Innovation Drives Economic Development,” held recently, said it was important that Nigeria focused on strategy, structure, and standard to improve and develop its innovation space.

The Roundtable is a collaboration of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), the National Universities Commission (NUC), and the tertiary education trust fund (TETFUND).
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the group said it is imperative that Nigeria looked for homegrown solutions and innovations to boost economic development.
Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi, while delivering the keynote address said the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic have brought to the fore the need for Nigeria to look at homegrown innovations for economic growth.
He spoke on the need for institutions to become more innovative, and how research and development needed to be commercially-driven for industrial and economic growth.
He revealed that the Ministry has developed a science and technology park that would serve as a platform for efficient transfer of scientific and technological breakthroughs from academia and research institutes to industries and businesses.
He said that technological incubation centres and cluster projects are being created to facilitate the development and nurturing of young entrepreneurs and firms, adding that the Ministry is streamlining research and development across various sectors and agencies to ensure proper coordination. 
Representative of the Executive Secretary of TETFUND, Dr. Salihu Bakari, said two-thirds of 2020 research grants will focus on science, technology and innovation, while the rest will cut across humanities, security, national integration and others.
He said that TETFUND is sensitive to prevailing issues and apart from the N7.5 billion National Research Grant; N200 million had been disbursed to researchers specifically focused at the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Vice-chairman of the NESG and Managing Director of Siemens Nigeria, Mrs. Onyeche Tifase, mentioned that policies that incentivise the private sector needed to be implemented, and that the academic environment should also be supported.
She said it was critical for the pace of development and collaboration in education and infrastructure be quickened, as, without infrastructure, innovation cannot be accessed for economic development.
She said: “Solutions need to be created according to the status quo, and it is important that Nigeria focuses on strategy, structure, and standard to improve and develop Nigeria’s innovation space.”
The Nigeria Triple Helix Roundtable adopted the concept of the Triple Helix of university-industry-government relationships model, as the core operating framework for setting and delivering the University Education Reform Agenda in the Medium Term (2019-2023), and the Long term (2023-2050). This is focused on repositioning the Education sector to deliver national outcomes and impact.

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