Determined to help Nigeria migrate from commodity to knowledge-based economy, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has entered into collaboration with Ideon Science Park, Sweden and Lunda Vision AB, to sensitize stakeholders on the viability of building a Science Park and Innovation Ecosystem in Nigeria.
The collaborators are currently holding a workshop, which will end today in the university with experts in the development of Science Park from Sweden, South Africa and Kenya in attendance.
Also in attendance are representatives of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry for Trade and Investment, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Customs and other institutions that have interest in technology and innovations.
The University of Nigeria had in 2016 launched a pilot scheme of the Science Park code-named “Roar Nigeria Hub,” which is the first university-embedded Science and Technology Incubator Hub in the country.
The university under Prof Benjamin Ozumba has already mapped out 45.9 hectares of land for the construction of a full-fledged Science Park, which is expected to attract over 400 companies to the UNN for research and innovations.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Ozumba, in his welcome address described the workshop as another move by the premier university to “restore the dignity of man”.
He pointed out that the University of Nigeria has taken a bold step towards building a knowledge economy for the country.
He explained that the workshop was aimed at sensitizing the academia, researchers, entrepreneurs, government ministries and agencies on the need to acquire skills and training required to build a competitive 21stCentury economy.
Ozumba disclosed that the conference was the fallout of his trips to Sweden to under-study the operations of science parks in the country.
“This international workshop is our modest effort to domesticate what we learnt in Sweden and help in creating the needed culture of innovation in our country, Nigeria”, the VC said.
Also speaking, the founder of Ideon Science Park, Sweden and CEO of Lunda Vision Sweden, Dr Sven Thore Holm, said the venture would help in the industrial training of students and enhance linkage between researchers and the industry.
Dr Holm pointed out that the science park project would help in the diversification of the Nigerian economy as there would be many companies working on different aspects of economic growth.
He said that the project would also help in employment creation, leading to the growth of entrepreneurial spirit and the consequent production of sophisticated products and services.
Also, Prof Per Erikson of Lund University, Sweden, in his keynote address challenged Nigerian universities to lead innovation revolution in the country.
He stated that the task of universities was not only education and research, but also innovation and provision of leadership to the private sector.
“Universities should begin to think of what to do to help the government”, Prof Erikson said, insisting that universities have crucial role to play in the transition of Nigeria to a knowledge-based economy.