TETFund to establish innovation hubs in tertiary institutions to support research


By Funmilayo Adeyemi

The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono, has expressed the fund’s readiness to replicate innovation hubs projects in public universities and other higher education institutions in the country.

Echono disclosed this at the opening  of TETFund Alliance for Innovative Research (TETFAIR) initiative on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the TETFAIR programme was put in place in collaboration with Innov8 Hub, saying that the move was part of efforts to institutionalise Research and Development (R&D) in the country.

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“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 unique opportunity for our academics and researchers 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,” he said.

According to him, many Nigerians who took part in start-up programmes by Innov8 hub have recorded many breakthroughs in inventions and technology.

Echono added that the fund was, however, committed to replicating these innovation hubs in all 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 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 added.

Echono further said the initiative was 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, among others.

He said that the fund had sponsored production of another set of 50 books, which would soon be unveiled for use in tertiary institutions in the country.

While declaring the TETFAIR open, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu said the initiative would help address gaps and proffer solution that would help Nigeria meet global demands.

Adamu who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, commended TETFund for the initiative, while saying that developed countries leverage on science and technology to achieve their status.

“Most of the countries that have emerged as global leaders have achieved this status through genuinity 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.

Also, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, said the event was apt as it aligned with the Executive Order Number 5 issued by President Muhammadu Buhari, which aimed at boosting application of science and technology in all sectors of the economy.

Mamora, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Monilola Udoh,  said the move would further help to harness the massive talents in science and engineering in the country as well as boosting local enterprises.

On his part, the Communication Adviser, innovat8 hub, Deji Ige, said the organisation was established to promote innovation and nurture ideas to reality.

“Founded by Prof. 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 invention, nurse their invention into solution, and transform their solution into enterprise.

“In the three 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 TETFund, the Embassy of the State of Israel in Nigeria, MakeLab, Zell Entrepreneurship and others.

“These are 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. (NAN)

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