The Nigeria triple Helix roundtable held a webinar with the theme “Fostering economic diversification through University-induced collaboration” on the 21st of May, 2020. The Nigeria triple helix roundtable is a collaboration of the Nigerian Economic Summit group (NESG), the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the tertiary education trust fund (tetfund).
Head of the technical committee of the Nigeria Triple Helix Roundtable, Mr. Tope Toogun welcomed all panelists and participants to the webinar and said that there was a need to find new measures to foster economic diversification and collaboration between government, the private sector, industries and the academia. He stated that the aim of the session is to address the need for a structured approach to enhancing partnerships between academia and industry, understand the steps required, identify the different areas in which such collaboration is possible or feasible and develop a roadmap for institutionalizing academia-industry collaboration in Nigeria.
Speaking as a panellist, the president of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engineer Mansur Ahmed mentioned that the ecosystem for industrial activities is not currently available and that is why the Nigeria Triple Helix Roundtable is important to help bring research conducted in government and the academia to the industries. He reiterated that there is a gap between the industries, academia and government agencies when it comes to cohesion in research studies that transform development work into finished products; and that the model of the Triple Helix Roundtable can help to bridge the gap. Furthermore, he stated that any developed research agenda must align with the overall economic objectives and there is a need to prioritise areas that offer us the best opportunities for diversification.
More so, Mr. Anno Meerman, co-founder University industry innovation network while delivering his remarks said that it was important for people undertaking research to study the needs of the local market to engage in useful and constructive studies. “The role of universities include education and research and 30 percent of research funding comes from education which is never really profitable. Responding to the earlier conversations, Dr. Suleiman Ramon Yusuf who represented the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Professor A. A Rasheed reiterated that universities don’t need large complexes to make an impact in their immediate environment. He reiterated the need for cohesion between institutional and academic research as a lack of collaboration between researchers in both settings had an adverse effect. At the end of the webinar, it was recommended that all concerned sectors prioritize collaboration, competiveness and the development of a Nigeria research and development ecosystem. The session also recommended the development of a triple helix framework and a different approach to funding where government provides start-ups fund and incentives to industries for them to adopt research projects. Mr. Toogun thanked all participants and said that Nigeria is overdue for a framework that will bring together critical stakeholders and that the deliberations of the webinar will aid diversification of Nigeria’s economy through university-induced collaboration going forward.