i-FAIR will fast-track Nigeria’s knowledge of economy – TETFund boss

The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, has said that the establishment of the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-FAIR) Centre would fast-track Nigeria’s leap into the knowledge economy realm.

Bogoro, represented by Dr Bako Chiroma, Assistant Director, Research and Development of TETFund, said this in his remarks at the closing of i-FAIR in Abuja.

The programme, which began on Dec. 1, 2020, was organised by the agency in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President, Skill G Ltd., Gregory University and DeNovo, private sector-based organisations

Bogoro commended the i-FAIR initiative to represent great potential for Nigeria, saying the establishment of the centre constitutes a significant building block and springboard for the country’s leap into the knowledge realm.

According to him, although the centre has become a breeding ground for creativity, original ideas and innovation, inadequate funding of research and development activities could hinder its growth.

According to him, it will also be the hub that will catalyse the explosion of research and development activities amongst our best and brightest youths, from a teeming population of extremely talented Nigerians.

“It is universally recognised that innovation is a collective endeavour that is facilitated by interactive learning; stakeholders other than the government now play new roles in research and development processes.

“The role of the private sector in driving the economy is grossly inadequate in most African countries, with the implication that public funding is likely to be the predominant source, for research and development in future.

“Only 0.2 per cent of research and development funds come from industry, as the more private funding gains momentum, TETFund will identify ways to utilize government and donor funding in research programmes.

“As Nigerian academia continues to demand greater autonomy, it will become imperative to seek alternative sources of funding, not only from foreign agencies, but local industries and enterprises,” Bogoro said.

He noted that for government increase funding for tertiary education often advocated, it would insist on value for money in form of university research evolving from boardrooms, production lines, classrooms and MDA’s.

He reiterated the need for research and development stakeholders to always involve end-users in research and provide clear access to both the process and the product through innovative communication strategies.

“This goes to underline the fact that research and development endeavour must incorporate strategies for synergy between critical stakeholders, especially research outcome end-users from design to implementation.

“Such that research uptake dictates the research process and product both at institutional and individual levels in nine months, notwithstanding constraints occasioned by COVID-19 protocols and restrictions.

“I-FAIR has succeeded in providing a unique opportunity to bring together ideas, inventors, mentors, entrepreneurs and prospective investors from Israel and beyond.

“On a platform and in a manner never contemplated in Nigeria before now and this calls for celebration in Nigeria,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme, with the theme; “Transforming Ideas into Invention”, is centred on agriculture, health, education, energy and homeland security, started on Dec. 1, 2020, to April 2021.

The programme centred on online training and participants developing prototypes and business plans while learning about intellectual property protection, communication and pitching to potential investors, at the I-FAIR innovation labs and workshops.

Source – nationalaccordnewspaper.com