No less than 25 registered, Nigerian companies have been shortlisted to benefit from the N9billion Czech-Nigeria Bilateral Research and Development co-funding under the Delta-2 programme for 2023.
Officially announcing the 25 successful applicants – with 5 on the waiting list – on the Delta-2 Programme today (November 30, 2022) in Abuja, the chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Technology Transfer (PICTT) between Nigeria and Czech Republic (PIC), Dr. Mohammed Dahiru said that, as a direct intervention fund to boost research and development (R&D)-based economic activities in Nigeria, leading to commercially viable businesses.
“Our relationship with the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TACR) led the PIC to open the 4th call for proposals for the joint R&D project between the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and TACR under the Delta-2 programme on the May 18, 2022, and closed it on July 13, 2022.
“During the call, 285 proposals were received and 117 were admitted into the evaluation and scoring process by the coordinating committee based on the eligibility criteria of the terms of reference and scope of the Delta-2 programme.
“Of the 117 proposals evaluated, 54 applicants were recommended for funding by the rapporteurs and were invited for an interview by the coordinating committee,” he said.
He added that the interview process selected the best 25 projects. Those on the waiting list are those who have been recommended for funding to benefit from this first participation in the Delta-2 programme.
Dahiru said PIC-NASENI has established a joint monitoring and evaluation team to oversee the implementation of the selected projects from inception, through the execution and commercialisation of the resulting research and development.
“What the project will do to our economy is that it will give us the opportunity to start producing things locally, create jobs, help us to improve the value of our currency and create wealth,” Dahiru stressed.
In his remarks, the executive vice chairman of NASENI and co-chairman, PICTT, Prof. Mohammed Haruna stated that the process was articulated, transparent and well coordinated by experts in both fields of research and business.
While explaining the time and amount to be received by the selected companies, Haruna said: “The sum of 250 million Czech Koruna (CZK), equivalent to US$10.5 million has been allocated as research fund by the government of that country, through the TACR for this project. NASENI has the approval of President Muhammadu Bihari to invest up to N2billion (USD $5.7million) in profitable manufacturing and commercialisation of successful research products as a partner with a willing company.
“These 25 selected companies shall be receiving their awards in January 2023 in line with the Delta-2 work plan.
“The funding for this project is projected to last for between 12 to 36 months. The outputs of these projects are expected to be of proven technologies, yield patents, pilot plants, process technologies, mass production and commercialisation.”
Earlier, the chairman, Senate Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation, Sen. Uche Ekwunife, in her speech disclosed that this programme will offer immense opportunities to Nigerian businessmen, academia, research and local content developers. “All these provide new knowledge, improved process and products to foster the growth and development of our country.”
Ekwunife, represented by Chief Frank Okafor, said: “The Senate is willing and ready to keep supporting and working together with every other performing agency like NASENI to move the country into a viable destination that is technologically driven.
“I will like to congratulate the 25 of you for making it through the rigorous evaluation process. To the applicants who have not been successful this time, I advise you to take the opportunity of the 5th call which comes up next year to submit your interest,” she added.
One of the successful applicants, Usmaniyya General Consultants Ltd., represented by Prof. Bilkisu Slimkefi, disclosed that they are into the development of the induced breeding of the ‘giraffe’ catfish, towards seed production and aquaculture diversification in Nigeria.
“Our company is a general consultant firm and we are professors from different universities. Our own is on agriculture and food production [while] our research is on the development of brand-new fish species, the ‘giraffe’ catfish.
“Of the 300 species of fish in Nigeria’s freshwater bodies only 5 can be made to reproduce in the capacity, we want to add 6 so that we can diversify.
“The Nigeria and Czech Republic have given us a place where we want to realise our dreams. Our dreams are going to come true because this has been a project we researched about since our doctorate [degree] programme,” he added.