Engineers honour Awoyinfa, task govt on science parks

AMID growing public concern over the nation’s dwindling fortunes in the areas of science and technological development, engineers have advocated the adoption of science park initiative by higher institutions in the country towards creating employment opportunities for young graduates.

The concept, parks according to, Secretary-General Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, and Immediate Past Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Mike Faborode, an engineers, is a business supported technology transfer initiative that has formal and operational links with centres of knowledge creation such as universities, higher education institutes and research organisations.

Faborode, while speaking at the fourth yearly public lecture, organised by the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) in honour of its past chairperson Oladipo Olufemi Awoyinfa, stressed that universities and other institutions of higher learning are key players in domesticating knowledge and diffusing it into the economy, but this they can only accomplish through close linkages with the private sector which will require major adjustments in the way universities function, as has happened in some other parts of the developing world.’

Our universities will need to transform from conventional sources of graduates into engines of community development or into sources of the technological armies of development. In other words, our universities will need to become ‘developmental universities,’ working directly within the communities in which they are located.’

He added that what the nation needs to be in 2020 is a proud, technologically advanced, economically self reliant and acknowledged dominant economy.Leaders of today need to look back into books and records of how it was done in the past. Human capital has to be harnessed to develop the national ecosystem. The upcoming youths need to be well educated. The leaders have it in their power to turn this country around. The environment is a key determinate in the development drive.

The hope for a new Nigeria, according to Faborode is anchored on knowledge and innovation with some rays of hope and optimism presenting itself in the new UNIPORT IPS Masters program, Total Nigeria Plc and a French Institute and new OAU Masters in Geosciences.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Engineering and the National Innovation Ecosystem: Understanding the Place of Science Innovation Parks, Faborode added that innovation and human capital formation and development are the most important elements in national development even as research partnerships between Universities and the Private Sector is very paramount.

Giving allusion to the first university/industry partnership initiative in Nigeria called the OTF-Park Development at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Faborode explained that the OTF Park aims to attract, mobilise and focus resources (human, material and financial) that will maximise the vision and strategic priorities of the University

‘The OTF Park aspires to stimulate creativity and excellence in research and innovation, serve as a hot-bed of ideas, and expand learning opportunity for OAU staff, students and allied researchers. They also create a nationally recognised model for commercialisation of research & technology to advance the growth of industry by providing the launch pad for instigating new firm start-ups. The goal is to position Ife as a Technology Hub.

Also President of NSE Mustapha Shehu, represented by engineer Tunde Jayesinmi urged other branches of the NSE to emulate the activities of the Ikeja branch and called on budding engineers to key into the capacity building lectures of the branch as a way to develop their knowledge

Earlier Chairman of Ikeja Branch of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, Bola Bido, while speaking at the 2012 Olu Awoyinfa Distinguished Annual Public Lecture, in honour of its prolific leader, and past chairperson Oladipo Olufemi Oladipo, who recently turned 70, stated that the branch deemed it more befitting to recognize the achievements of the past leader while he was still alive.

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