The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has committed over N500 million to the universities and other tertiary institutions across the country to facilitate research and development (R&D) and innovations to promote developments in the telecommunications industry.
Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, who made this at a two-day Regional Roundtable with academia, industry and other stakeholders which ended in Kano at the weekend, said the funds had been committed to research grants to universities and tertiary institutions, including professorial chairs in the universities in salient areas to drive technology development.
Danbatta said the Commission is now focused on supporting the academia in the commercialisation of the prototypes from these innovative researches as this is relevant to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy’s policy towards achieving indigenous technology for sustainable development of our country. He said the roundtable organized by the Commission was to provide the necessary platform to support the commercialisation of local telecommunications innovations which NCC has been sponsoring.
“The Commission collaborates with the Academia in maximising the contributions of tertiary institutions to innovations and sustainable development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry as finance is needed to drive possible success of these endeavours,” Danbatta said.
He said these efforts had enabled the Commission to contribute to national efforts to ensure overall growth of the industry and create wealth for innovators, saying all these are fundamental to the objective of the NCC’s R&D-oriented programmes.
On the basis of these, he said ideas, inventions, and improvements that emanate from academia are required by the industry for improved efficiency and productivity.
Danbatta said appreciable impacts had been achieved since the Commission reinvigorated research grants for telecommunications-based research innovations from Nigerian academics, focusing on successful commercialisation of local solutions to foster and deepen the uptake of indigenous technology by Nigerians.
NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska, also said the Commission has awarded 49 telecom- based research grants to the academia out of which 10 prototypes were developed and displayed to industry stakeholders. He said the R&D efforts of the Commission were aimed at actualising some of the eight-point Pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, focusing on Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.
The event, which featured a series of panel discussions, particularly focusing on sub-themes that addressed the overarching theme of the stakeholders’ forum from different perspectives, drew participants from the academia, telecoms industry stakeholders, financial services sector and other critical sectors or the economy.
Participants deliberated on understanding commercialisation and entrepreneurial models within the university and industry perspectives as well as brainstorming on investment/ funding opportunities for prototype development, sustainability and the sale of new products in the marketplace.