Thirteen Nigerian universities have so far accessed the 2021 Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Information Communications Technology (ICT) based research grant, worth over N173 million.
The NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta who disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday day, at a ceremony organized to present the awardees’ symbolic cheques, also said the Commission has also awarded N60 million endowment of Professorial Chairs to the University of Port Harcourt, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, and the Federal University of Technology, Minna.
Danbatta stated that the Telecommunications-Based Research Innovations grant and Professorial Chair endowment were designed to encourage academia and also spur the creation of local content for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.
He also said the event demonstrated Commission’s strong resolve in advancing the impact of digital technologies on the national economy, using indigenous products and solutions.
According to Danbatta, in 2021 RfP, the Commission received a total of 55 research proposal that focused on five emerging technology areas, namely: Fifth Generation (5G) deployment; Innovative Clean Energy; Advanced Method of Quality of Service (QoS)/Quality of Experience Management and Test Mechanism; Internet of Things (IoT); Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) Technology; and Monitoring and Localising of Drones.
“After thorough evaluations, 13 proposals were found to have met the stipulated criteria. Indeed, this is a clear testimony to the objectivity and painstaking approach to the evaluation process aimed at ensuring that the best quality is achieved and only researches that could produce prototypes with the potential of providing solutions to both local and global challenges were selected,” Danbatta said as he congratulates the 13 successful research awardees.
“Each university would be required to sign the Memorandum of Understanding that would guide the programs. With these awards and endowments, the Commission would have provided more than N660 million to Nigerian tertiary institutions for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) focused research innovations,” he added.
The EVC also presented dummy cheques of N20 million each to the Vice Chancellors of three Nigerian universities, namely: University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto; and Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, who are the beneficiaries of the NCC’s Professorial Chair Endowments.
“The Commission has endowed professorial chairs in tertiary institutions across the country, as a mechanism in entrenching innovations in our tertiary institutions, as well as having graduates that are “industry-ready”. The endowment of professorial chairs in universities is one of Commission’s initiatives in supporting the academia to focus on research in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in order to enhance the advancements of emerging technologies,” Danbatta stated, to underscore the purpose for instituting professorial chairs in tertiary institutions.
The fresh endowment in the three universities brings to seven, the number of universities that the Commission has endowed professorial chairs. Earlier, the NCC had instituted professorial chairs in Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State; Bayero University, Kano, Kano State; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi State; and University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
Also speaking, the Head, of Research and Development Department of NCC, Kelechi Nwankwo noted that the grant and the Professorial Chair endowment were in line with the Strategic Management Plan ( 2020-2024).