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Fund research to power industrial revolution – Experts

By Saheed Ibrahim & Abigail Joel

Industrialists and governments have been tasked to properly fund research, while researchers should àlso focus their studies on solving Nigeria’s peculiar industrial missing links so as to ignite industrial revolution.
The experts, who spoke with The Hope in separate interviews, insisted that government must properly fund education and research.
In the same vein, researchers must focus their studies on identifying problems in the nation’s industrial sector and proffer solutions to them.
A Rural Development Consultant, Prof. Janice Olawoye who stated this, stressed that the industrialisation and sustainable development of Nigeria are hinged on three players, which are government, industry and researchers.
She noted that government must adequately fund institutions for researchers to be able to tackle problems in the industrial sector, adding that investors must also support research for scalability and impacts.
She also identified that government policy must be friendly to businesses to grow.
Her words: “Just as we have recognized the need to understand the multi-sector approach to sustainable development in terms of economic, social and environmental concerns, we now recognize that for us to make progress in development, there is the need to involve a multi-institutional approach to the design and implementation of successful interventions.
“Universities engaging in basic research, industries producing commercial goods and government setting policy and regulating markets, when these institutions are not working together but working independently, it will not be possible for the overall system to grow and none of the institutions will be performing optimally,” she submitted.
Supporting Prof Olawoye, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Dr Olusola Fadairo identified proper funding of research by the government, corporate industries and research uptake by researchers as ways to ensure social and industrial development in Nigeria.
He said, you cannot expect researchers to use their salaries to continue to do research that the industries can use for development. The industries must be willing to support with huge resources.
Researchers must also emphasise the use of research uptake. When undertaking research uptake, relevant stakeholders from government, the industry and others concerned could be brought together and communicate the usefulness of the research to them, by so doing, the industry will get interested,” he stated.
He however noted that there was no total disconnection between the academia and the industry but that collaboration has not been adequate, stressing that Nigerian researchers have been performing brilliantly in other countries where their researches were being funded.
He said Nigerian researchers have the capacity to deliver but lack financial support.
An entrepreneur and lecturer at Anchor University, Lagos state, Dr Fadeyi Olatunji said that researchers must tailor their research towards solving identified problems faced by Nigerian industries.
The ex-banker further said that governments also have roles to play in financing research in the country.
Mr Jesudamilare Adesegun-David said the gap between the academia and the business industry could be bridged by using the alumni of institutions as mediators.
He added that there must be robust engagement and interactions between the academia and the industry to identify the problems in the corporate world and how researchers can intervene.
“The university cannot afford to remain as a closed environment. The products of the universities should be called back to have conversation with the management of the institutions to see how they can collaborate. If the alumni working in the corporate work can come up with funds for research to get converted to services and products, it will fast track it”, he said.
He added that University ratings should be based on how the impacts of their research on the communities in which the researches are conducted. This would make the business world interested in finding research for business and community development.

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