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NCC rallies academia, others for commercialisation of indigenous technologies

By Adeyemi Adepetun
04 August 2022   |   4:01 am
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has rallied the academia and telecommunications industry to encourage commercialisation of indigenous technologies.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has rallied the academia and telecommunications industry to encourage commercialisation of indigenous technologies.

The commission’s Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the appeal, yesterday, in Lagos, at a roundtable with relevant stakeholders in the southern region.

He said NCC was collaborating with the academia in maximising contributions of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions to innovations and sustainable development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry.

Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, Josephine Amuwa, informed the audience that at the end of 2021, the regulator provided N522,551,910.27 as research grants to tertiary institutions, stressing that every study was to deliver a prototype that could be commercialised for the benefit of the industry and consumers.

Consequently, the NCC said the meeting was to encourage commercialisation of locally developed telecommunications innovations, hitherto sponsored by the commission, as a way of fostering and deepening indigenous technological capabilities of Nigerians to support the overall growth of the industry and creating wealth for spin-off companies.

He acknowledged that the academia is a key driver of innovations in all spheres of human endeavor, adding: “In specific terms, the ideas, inventions and improvements that emanate from the academia are required by industry for improved efficiency and productivity. With this in mind, the regulator, as a critical component of any ecosystem, aims to ensure all stakeholders are protected and the industry nurtured for maximum benefit to business and society.”

Danbatta observed that with the challenges of commercialising research prototypes, “it is clear that the commission will have to make a commitment to facilitate the contributions from academia, by supporting commercialisation of these prototypes to deepen indigenous technological capabilities, which would support the overall development of the industry.”

At the gathering titled: “The Path from Innovative Research to Commercialisation of Viable Prototypes,”

The EVC stated that appreciable impacts had been achieved since the commission reinvigorated award of research grants for telecommunications-based research innovations to Nigerian academics.

On his part, Chairman of NCC Board, Prof. Adeolu Akande, reiterated that the regional parley was geared at bringing together relevant players and agencies to develop a template for commercialising telecommunication-based research prototypes coming from the commission’s research grants to the academia.

He said experience indicates that even the most promising ideas face daunting commercialisation challenges as difficulty always exists between promising concepts and viable products.

Also speaking, Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, observed that engaging stakeholders remains “very key for the country.”

He pointed out that one of the things lacking in Nigeria “is the idea of the Triple Helix Model of Universities that carries out research for government and probably handshake with them so that it won’t just be research for research sake, but research for development, which will see industry being able to come to the universities and tell us the problems before them.”