'NANOSCIENCE WILL BRIDGE THE TECHNOLOGY DIVIDE IN NIGERIA'
Speaking during the Hands-on training on advanced manufacturing/Nanoscience and Mechatronic at the University in Abuja, Soboyejo said that the training, which is being carried out in collaboration with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), represents efforts to build capacity in the areas of advanced manufacturing and nanoscience.
He said, 'This training programme represents a leap frogging potential. It means that we can use digital methods to make computer aided designs then we can export the information to a machine that can manufacture the parts. This means that if we acquire the skills in advanced manufacturing, then we can connect these to many manufacturing capabilities that will allow us to make spare parts, integrated systems, energy systems, components of various kinds and they will bridge the technology divide.'
According to him, 'it basically means that we're going to use this as a method to train a new generation of people who can bridge the technology divide. It will allow us manufacture many things but we have to train enough people who will have that knowledge in a way that will allow us to grow facilities like hydro turbines for electricity and spare parts for cars.'
The provost said that the training programme aims to bring in professionals in the science and technology sector to be trained by international experts from the best institutions of the world on the latest cutting edge technology.
'This initial programme of five weeks is to provide training in an intense way in some of the cutting edge fields of science and technology that can transform the possibilities we have in our own arena. Within the next five week we're introducing participants to new areas such as micro and nano fabrication. They will learn both the hands- on as well as the theory behind the skills like computer design, computer aided manufacturing, mechatronics, artificial intelligence, solar energy conservation and organic electronics,' he added.
In his remarks, the Acting Director General of NASENI, Engr. Mohammed Haruna, said that the advanced manufacturing technology is no longer new to Nigeria.
He said, 'Advanced manufacturing technology is no longer new in Nigeria. Products using advanced technologies are already in use in NASENI.'
He however lamented that the agency does not have enough manpower and capacity to make these products commercially viable in the nation.
'We cannot produce enough to meet the demand sof the country and make them commercially viable. We do not have the capacity and manpower to meet the demands of the industry, the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME's) and even research and development activities,' he added.
He however noted that the training programme aims to make manpower available to augument activities of the center to meet the commercial needs of the country and to build capacity for the train- the-trainers programme.
According to him, 'from our previous training programmes, we have proved that training people who will end up training others is a valid tool, so we will train these batch who will train others in the science and technology sector.'
He further said NASENI's Center of excellence in collaboration with three universities in Nigeria, have flagged -off a masters degree programme in Nano and advanced materials technology, mechatronics and electronics products development adding that these programmes are not conventions masters of Science programmes but are product oriented, 'In the sense that even before the person graduates from the university, he's already a manufacturer using the latest manufacturing technology in the world. They are market and needs oriented courses that will definitely impact the nation in terms of technological development.'