As part of the economic diversification policy of the present administration, the Federal Government and the Czech Republic today (May 18, 2022) launched a call for public proposals for a $16.2million Delta-2 programme to co-fund research and development (R&D) projects.
The Delta-2 Programme is the cooperation model of the Technology Agency of Czech Republic (TACR) running from 2020 to 2025. The TACR will sponsor applied research and innovation of manufacturing companies and innovative institutions, with Nigeria becoming a new beneficiary of the programme.
It could be recalled that Nigeria (through the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI) and the Czech Republic (TACR) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Prague in 2014, on critical areas of technology transfer and innovations which resulted in the co-funding of the Czech-Nigeria Bilateral R&D project on Delta-2 programme.
Speaking at the launch of the programme, the executive vice chairman, NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, said the call for public proposals for the Delta-2 programme is one of the projects to be implemented under the agreement between both countries.
According to Haruna, the areas covered by the MoU include biotechnology and pharmaceutical research, agricultural and food technology, mining industrial development, among others, could not take off earlier due to bureaucracy, until the Presidential Implementation Committee on Technology Transfer/Information Exchange (PICTT) between Nigeria and the Czech Republic was inaugurated by President Muhammed Buhari in November 2020.
“The PICTT would be sourcing technologies from the Czech Republic’s manufacturing companies, as well as tertiary and research and development institutions. The sum of CZK 250 million (250 million Czech Koruna, approximately US$10.5 million) has been an allocated as research fund by the government of the Czech Republic, through the TACR and will be supplemented by NASENI on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the sum of 2billion or US$5.7 million.
“Technology acquisition and domestication through this collaboration will help to bridge the technology gap between Nigeria and the advanced countries of the West and to facilitate Nigeria’s transition to a manufacturing economy. Indeed, the deployment of technology is crucial to mitigate our socio-economic and security challenges. The Delta-2 Programme is uniquely designed to catalyse technology transfer and mobilise positive interventions and investments among private sectors and relevant stakeholders in Nigeria and the Czech Republic for technology advancement. The project seeks to mobilise investments to help developing countries like Nigeria meet their needs for environmentally sound technology,” Haruna explained.
A statement by NASENI’s deputy director, information, Mr. Olusegun Ayeoyenikan, said Haruna, however, noted that the output of the collaborative projects are expected to yield patents, pilot plants, development of proven technologies, industrial designs, prototypes, functional samples, software, certified methodologies processes and specialised maps, databases, commercialisation among others.
In his welcome address, the chairman, PICT, Dr. Muhammed Dahiru, said the launch of the call for public proposals simultaneously hosted by the TACR and, at least, eight (8) other participating countries, is the first part of the project procedure/schedule on TACR Delta-2 programme for bilateral cooperation in applied research and technology transfer for agriculture, mining and general manufacturing.
“Research and development (R&D) proposals are now invited from Nigeria’s academic community, research and development institutions, as well as private companies or entrepreneurs and independent researchers in agriculture and food technology, mining and industrial development and general manufacturing for SMEs’ development,” he stated.