NCC Earmarks N500m For Research In Nigerian Universities

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L-R: The director, research and development, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Ismail Adedigba; Director, entrepreneurship centre, Federal University of Technology Minna, Dr. Caroline Alenoghena; Executive director, 9Mobile, Mr. Abdulrahman Ado; Executive vice chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta; Executive commissioner, technical services, NCC, Engr. Ubale Maska and the vice chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Prof. Kabiru Bala, during the commission’s regional roundtable with academia, industry and other stakeholders in Kano State.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has committed over N500 million to Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions across the country to facilitate research and innovations to promote development in the Nigerian telecommunications industry. 

The executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta who disclosed this at a two-day regional roundtable with academia, industry and other stakeholders in Kano over the weekend, said the funds have been committed to research grants to universities and tertiary institutions, including professorial chairs in the universities in salient areas to drive technology development.

Danbatta said the commission had turned its focus to supporting the academia in the commercialisation of the prototypes from these innovative researches, as this is relevant to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy’s policy towards achieving indigenous technology for sustainable development of the country.

He said the roundtable organised by the commission was to provide the necessary platform to support the commercialisation of locally-developed telecommunications innovations which the NCC has been sponsoring.

“The commission collaborates with the academia in maximising the contributions of tertiary institutions to innovations and sustainable development of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry as finance is needed to drive the possible success of these endeavours,” Danbatta said.

The NCC boss said these efforts have enabled the commission’s contributions to national efforts to ensure overall growth of the industry and create wealth for innovators, adding that these are fundamental to the objectives of the NCC’s research and development-oriented programmes. 

Based on these, he said ideas, inventions and improvements that emanate from academia are required by the industry for improved efficiency and productivity. 

Danbatta said appreciable impacts had been made since the commission reinvigorated research grants for telecommunications-based research innovations from Nigerian academics, focusing on the successful commercialisation of locally developed solutions to foster and deepen the uptake of indigenous technology by Nigerians. 

In his remarks, the executive commissioner, technical services, NCC, Engr. Ubale Maska, also disclosed that the commission has, so far, awarded 49 telecom-based research grants to academia. Of these, 10 prototypes were successfully developed and displayed to industry stakeholders. 

He said the R&D efforts of the commission were aimed at actualising some of the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, which focuses on indigenous content development and adoption.

A statement by the director, public affairs, NCC, Reuben Muoka said the event which featured a series of panel sessions, particularly focusing on sub-themes that addressed the overarching theme of the stakeholders’ forum from different perspectives, drew participants from academia, telecoms industry stakeholders, financial services sector and other critical sectors or the economy. 

Participants deliberated on understanding commercialisation and entrepreneurial models within the university and industry, as well as brainstormed on investment/ funding opportunities for prototype development, sustainability and the sale of new products in the marketplace.

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