The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc. Sonny Echono, has expressed the readiness of the Fund to replicate innovation hubs projects in public universities and other higher education institutions in the country.
Echono, made this known at the opening of TETFund Alliance for Innovative Research (TETFAIR) initiative on Wednesday in Abuja.
The TETFund boss, who said the TETFAIR programme was put in place in collaboration with Innov8 Hub, revealed that the move was part of efforts to institutionalise Research and Development (R&D) in Nigeria.
“The TETFAIR programme is being conducted by TETFund in collaboration with Innov8 Technology Hub, a firm championing the advancement of Science and Technology Education in Nigeria.
“The programme is designed to support the advancement of solution-driven research, innovation and sustainable development in Nigeria. Being a year-long programme, TETFAIR is aimed at providing a unique opportunity for our academics and researchers in Nigerian Universities to transform their ideas into market-driven solutions, including the development and fabrication of prototypes.
“Through the programme, selected teams of researchers and academic staff with promising ideas for innovative solutions in the programme areas of focus, are being taken through a journey that combines technology and product development along with venture creation, ” Echono said.
While saying many Nigerians who took part in start-up programmes by Innov8 hub have recorded many breakthroughs in inventions and technology, Echono said, “TETFund is committed to replicating this (innovation hubs) in our tertiary institutions.”
“The programme is carefully packaged to take the participants through various courses that combine the intricacies, processes and procedures of Innovation Development, Prototyping and Venture Creation to enable them to bring their innovative ideas to fruition.
“They will also go through training and mentorship on the business/entrepreneurial aspect of their project. At the end of the programme, participants will have the opportunity to showcase their innovations to stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem and potential investors, both local and international,” he said.
Speaking further, Echono said the initiative is also aimed at providing solutions to identified challenges based on strategic needs and national priorities in areas such as Agriculture and Food Technology; Environment, Energy and Circular Economy; Health and Accessibility: Information Communication Technology; Security; Transportation, Aviation, Shipping, among others.
The TETFund boss also revealed that the Fund has sponsored the production of another set of 50 books, which will soon be unveiled for use in tertiary institutions in the country.
Declaring the TETFAIR open, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu said the initiative would help address gaps and proffer solutions that will help Nigeria meet global demands.
Represented by Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, Adamu, who commended TETFund for the initiative, said developed countries leverage science and technology to achieve their status.
“Most of the countries that have emerged as global leaders achieved this status through ingenuity and hard work of their scientists.
“There is the need for our researchers and research findings to bring about knowledge, sharing of ideas, mobilisation of practical implementation of these ideas.
“I believe that all the experiences gained would be deployed to improve and expand the frontiers of science and technology in solving real-life problems,” the minister said.
On his part, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Adeleke Mamora, said the event was apt as it aligned with Executive Order Number 5 issued by President Muhammadu Buhari, which aimed at boosting the application of science and technology in all sectors of the economy.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Monilola Udoh, the minister said the move would further help to harness the massive talents in science and engineering in the country as well as boost local enterprises.
Mamora lavished praise on TETFund for injecting billions of naira into national research, adding that the effort is now yielding good results.
On his part, Deji Ige, communication adviser, innovat8 hub, said the organisation was established to promote innovation and nurture ideas to reality.
“Founded by Professor Gregory Ibe and Dr Moshe Moalem, Innov8 hub in simple terms is a midwife that helps Nigerians who are pregnant with innovative ideas, to birth their ideas into inventions, nurse their invention into solutions, and transform their solution into enterprises.
“In the 3 years of our existence, we have become the epicentre of innovation, invention, solution and start-up incubation in Nigeria; aided considerably by critical collaborations with visionary and resilient partners like the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, the Embassy of the State of Israel in Nigeria, MakeLab, Zell Entrepreneurship and others, who share our vision of inculcating the culture of innovation and venture creation in Nigerians; to gradually transform Nigeria into a start-up nation.
“So far, we have helped Nigerians develop and perfect over 72 prototypes ready for commercialization, we have mentored over 150 innovators, inventors and venture creators, among whom are academics and researchers. We have been involved in the emergence of 15 solid start-ups,” Ige said.
This year’s edition of TETFAIR which attracted 66 scholars and researchers is expected to run for one year.