The Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke has urged Universities in Nigeria to partner with leading companies, foundations and other research-intensive institutions, saying such partnership will help broaden innovations.
Opeke, while delivering a speech with the themed “The Role of Electronic Devices and Instrumentation in National Development”, Public Lecture at the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, added that apart from transferring knowledge from lab to practice, such partnerships also provide critical funding for talented faculty and students to pursue foundational research on technologies that can solve local problems.
“The absence of the synergy between our universities and the private sector has created a vacuum, which has made Nigeria to lag behind others in terms of technological innovations and with little progress in the fields of electronic devices and instrumentations despite the contributions of eminent Nigerians to the development of information and communications technology (ICT),” she argued.
The MainOne boss, who is an alumni of the university, believes the partnership will enable students and faculty to exchange ideas with the very best minds inside and outside the academy and, most importantly, help to prepare students to be citizens of a rapidly changing world.
She highlighted some of the challenges hindering progress in Nigeria’s quest for innovations. According to her, these challenges include unfavorable climatic conditions, low cost e-learning devices, power, security leading to spin-offs or patents which can be commercially exploited in the immediate market.
Opeke charged the government to set up infrastructure, policies, incentives and grants for universities to encourage research and development, facilitate the growth of the industry and improve national competitiveness as seen in several developed countries whose tech industry is driven by publicly funded research such as National Science Foundation (NSF) and United States Department of Defense (DoD).