The Nigerian Communications Commission has presented a 65 million naira research grant to eleven Nigeria Universities to boost the telecommunication sector.
The award was in recognition of the role the academia in the development of the sector which informs the commission to institute a research grant project.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, stated this during the presentation of award letters to the winning universities for the 2018 NCC’s Research Grants.
He said under this project, tertiary institutions submit detailed and well thought out research proposals to the commission for innovative use of telecommunication to solve, national problems.
“These proposals, which are varied, result in the development of commercially viable prototypes for the 2018 financial year, the commission received 63 research proposals and after stringent evaluations 11 proposals were found to have met the set criteria.
“This is a clear testimony of the objectivity and complexity of evaluation process in ensuring that best quality is achieved and the researches are such that will produce prototypes with the potential of providing solutions to both local and global challenges,” he said.
Professor Danbatta explained that the commission had set out clear terms and conditions for the grants and it is expected that awardees abide by all terms of the award.
“In addition, we wish to provide a word of caution, that you are not, under any circumstance expected to showcase the work or the prototype to anybody or organization or at any exhibition. Until the commission ha’s received the final prototype and signed off on it and we will always show concern to the quality relevance and efficiency of the product we want to push into the industry.
“l look forward to being here again to receive you as you demonstrate to the commission and selected industry stakeholders the modalities for the use of your prototype that will result from this collaborative effort of the commission,” EVC stated.
While speaking with journalists Danbatta expressed optimism that when these proposals produce quality prototypes they will be commercialized to revive the manufacturing sector of the country’s economy.
“It will improve the national system of innovation and through this innovation, we hope the new product that can be commercialized and improve service delivery in the industry and content the challenges in the industry. We promise that even when we identify prototypes that will invest in invest to the telecommunications sector of the economy. These prototypes will be put to proper use and it will not gather dust.
“What we are waiting for is the quality of the prototypes to emerge from this collaboration, and if they do and we have the evidence that convinces us that such high-quality prototypes from this effort we will then translate the output of such to proper practical use,” Professor Danbatta added.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee Professor Mohammed-Bashir Mu’aza explained that One of the major criteria was that we try to look at the proposals which have direct relevance to the telecommunications industry and the level of impact it will have with the local content policy of the federal government.
Adding that 63 proposals were received but only 11 met all the criteria set out to evaluate the submissions.
The Director of Research and Development, NCC, Mr. Ephraim Nwokonneya explained that NCC insisted on the search for cutting edge solutions oriented in local content and expressed joy that the outcome of some of NCC research grants “are undergoing the process of testing and patenting with National Office for Technological Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), and we are indeed encouraged by these results and that has inspired us to continue to facilitate further researches.”
He added: “Since we started this project some years ago, some of the research experts have succeeded in delivering research result and prototypes that are implementable and viable. The beneficiaries of the 2018 award of a research grant in the academia emerged out of a very competitive selection process,” Nwokonneya stated.
Speaking on behalf of the awardees, Professor Musa Aibinu of the Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger state, North-central, Nigeria institutions commended the NCC for promoting knowledge-based economy and promised that they will keep the rules, within stipulated time and deliver what will be beneficial to Nigeria and the global community.
The universities include Ahmadu Bello University Zaria with two awards. Others are University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, University of Port-Harcourt Bayero University Kano, University of Jos, University of Nigeria Nusukka, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Bauchi Federal University Minna, Federal University, Akure.