Thursday, August 11, 2022

Onu Calls For Robust Relationship Between ERC, Tertiary Institutions

Onu ERCs
L-R: The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (FMSTI), Dr. Edet Akpan; Minister of State, FMSTI, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi; FMSTI Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; director-general, Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof. Eli Bala; and the vice chancellor, University of Benin City, Prof. Lilian Salami during the ministerial committee inauguration in Abuja.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has called on the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and vice chancellors of universities to develop an excellent working relationship through the Energy Research Centres (ERCs), to promote research and innovation for sustainable economic development in the country.

The minister said this during the meeting with the vice chancellors of host universities of the energy research centres under the purview of the Energy Commission of Nigeria today (February 1) in Abuja.

Onu said that the meeting will further strengthen the relationship between the commission, the host universities and the FMSTI to promote research and innovation in the energy sector.

He further stated that some of the research and development (R&D) outputs in the country have remained on the shelves in the centres without getting into the market, but through the annual STI Expo which has been taking place in the ministry, a forum has been provided for entrepreneurs, investors and financiers to meet with inventors and innovators, thereby facilitating the commercialisation of the research output.

Also, Onu stated that the Presidential Executive Order 5 initiated by the ministry, has equally supported local capacity participation in the procurement of science, technology and innovation components in the country.

The minister commended the ERCs for their innovative outputs in the energy research centres – solar water heaters, solar crops, dryers, biomass digesters, solar chick brooders, solar PV systems for lighting, water pumping and many others.

Onu said that both research institutes and the host universities can benefit from one another in several ways through the review of operational guidelines of university-based energy research centres, through the elimination of friction, as well as facilitation of effective working relationships.

He urged the committee to complete its work within one week of the inauguration.

Responding on behalf of the six vice chancellors of host universities of ERCs, the vice chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, appreciated the minister for the meeting, and said that the only way the country can grow is through STI development.

She added that youths should be encouraged to bring forward ideas that can be incubated in the universities.

In his remarks, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Edet Sunday, read out the terms of reference of the Operational Guidelines for the university-based energy research centres under the Energy Commission of Nigeria to the committee.

A statement by the ministry’s director, press and public relations, Afonija Ajibola, said the ToRs include: to review the operational guidelines of the university-based energy research centres funded and supervised by the Energy Commission Nigeria, to better enhance energy research and innovation, eliminate areas of frictions and facilitate a smooth symbiotic working relationship between the host universities and the commission in no distant future; and to carry out the review and draw a path for research officers of the commission to attain the rank of professors.

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