Poor Research Funding, Bane Of Nigeria’s Tech Devt – NOTAP DG

R-L: The director, technology acquisition and research coordination, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, Mrs. Caroline Anie-Osuagwu presenting a copy of Intellectual Property Policy to the deputy vice chancellor, administration, Federal University, Kashere, Prof. Abubakar Gurama, during the commissioning in Gombe State.

The director-general of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim has fingered insufficient research funding as a major setback to the country’s technological development.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the 64th Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Office (IPTTO) established by NOTAP at the Federal University Kashere, Gombe State, Ibrahim, who was represented by NOTAP’s director of technology acquisition and research coordination (TARC), Mrs. Caroline Anie-Osuagwu said no nation develops technologically without giving premium attention to research and development (R&D).

He added that in developed countries, substantial per cent of their national budget is devoted to research while in Nigeria and other developing countries, research funding is treated with kids’ gloves. 

The DG informed the gathering that NOTAP was established to regulate the inflow of foreign technologies into the country through the registration of technology transfer agreements but also has the duty to encourage the development of indigenous technologies. 

In carrying out its statutory responsibilities, he disclosed further, the office realised that the weak intellectual property (IP) culture in Nigeria’s knowledge institutions and, “for the country to develop technologically, we must develop a vibrant and sustainable IP ecosystem capable of driving innovation in the country”.     

Ibrahim called for encouragement of the IP culture and creation of intellectual property awareness within knowledge institutions across the nation.

He said NOTAP, in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 2006, commenced process for the establishment of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in the country’s tertiary and research establishments.

The DG stated that the establishment of IPTTOs became necessary due to the urgent need to move the nation from a technologically-dependent to an independent nation through harnessing and utilisation of indigenous skills. 

He further stated that the difference between developed and emerging nations was their level of technology development. Therefore,  there was the need for IP awareness creation to ensure that Nigerian researchers are fully abreast of the inherent benefits of undertaking  research that will translate into tangible goods and services.

The DG reiterated the need to increase IP advocacy to arouse the interest of the research community into patenting their inventions before publishing.

He encouraged researchers to approach NOTAP with their research findings, so that the office can assist them in patenting them at no cost.

Ibrahim hailed the skill of Nigerian researchers which has seen them embark on numerous researches but lost them to industrialised nations through publishing, exhibitions and seminar presentations before patenting them. He pointed out that by creating IP awareness, researchers are now protecting their research works before publishing.

He revealed that NOTAP assists researchers in writing patent claims, filing for patent and paying for patenting fees and only calls them for collection of the patent certificate.

In his welcome speech, the vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Umar Pate, represented by the deputy vice chancellor (administration), Prof. Abubakar Gurama said that the establishment of IPTTO in Federal University Kashere was the beginning of a new era. He insisted that, given that the university is relatively young, its achievements in research can equal that of first-generation universities.

He hailed NOTAP as strategic to the development of science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystems through its programmes in closing the gap between the academia and the industry. 

Pate encouraged the staff of the institution to take the IP training seriously, as it will help in refocussing their  research undertakings.

In her goodwill message, the Gombe State Commissioner of Education, Dr. Aishatu Maigari congratulated the university for being considered worthy to host an IPTTO in the institution. She was glad to be part of the team that visited NOTAP to make a case for the establishment of the IPTTO in Gombe State.

She counted the state “lucky” to have an IPTTO established in both the Federal and state universities in her time as commissioner. 

A statement by the agency’s assistant chief information officer, Raymond Ogbu, Maigari charged researchers within and outside the university community to make maximum use of the opportunity for the development of the country, as well as for their personal benefits.

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