R&D, TONIC FOR NATIONAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
Research and development, often called R&D, is a phrase that means different things in different applications.
In the world of business, research and development is the phase in a product's life that might be considered the product's 'conception'. That is, basic science must exist to support the product's viability, and if the science is lacking, it must be discovered – this is considered the research phase.
If the science exists, then turning it into a useful product is the development phase. Further terminology refinements might call it engineering to refine production so that the product can be made for a cost that appeals to consumers.
There is no gainsaying that Research and Development (R&D) has remained the bedrock of any self-reliant national economy. Across the globe, increased scientific R&D in the field of science has led to acceleration in the growth of technological knowledge and expertise.
Speaking on R&D the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Ewa said that technology is driven and sustained by research.
He said: 'R&D is driven and sustained by research, therefore, research results, packaging and exploitation for the market are key for the market are key to our nation development drive.'
He maintained that as a developing nation, the Nigerian government should continue to emphasise investment in R&D, a branch of Science and Technology as a veritable tool to drive the economic transformation of the country.
He further said that the numerous research and development results within parastatals and other relevant government agencies must be linked to the market to ensure that Nigeria achieves the Vision 20:2020. This was even as he stated that R&D was not only important but also desirable for the nations quest for national economic transformation.
Speaking at a workshop converged by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), in collaboration with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) with the theme: 'Packaging R&D Results for Inventions for the Market', the the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs Rabi Jimeta said that R&D had a key role to play in the development of any nation.
She said that in order for R&D gains to be harnessed by the nation it must take out time to package it to make it attractive for the market.
She said: 'It is a well known phenomenon that in order to reap the full benefits of R&D results and innovations, they must be well packaged to attract the market.'
According to her, 'The more number of R&D results that are pushed to the market, the higher the industrial level of a country.'
In his address, the Director-General of NOTAP, Dr Umar Bindir emphasized the need for Nigeria to be primed with the right and relevant information to harness the enormous gains in R&D.
He said: 'The workshop will sensitise research community on the need for a demand driven research, guide researchers on appropriate method of packaging R&D results for the market and share experience of a developing country in moving R&D to the market.'
Bindir maintained that the proper linkage between research institutions and industry for the commercialisation of research results was very vital in national economic transformation.
He, however, lamented that while the scope and productivity of R&D have continued to increase, there has been fundamental advancement in the field of genetic engineering, various forms of cancer treatment, and vaccine researches on malaria, among others, many research findings and innovations have been in isolation.
The DG said: 'With the Federal Government's continuous pledge to improve research and development many research findings and innovations in the country that had not been commercialised because the institutions and industry were working in isolation.'
Speaking on the importance of packaging research and development results, the NOTAP helmsman said it has a role to play in wealth creation.
He said: 'Packaging the research and development results could play a big role in wealth creation and industrial and economic development in line with the transformation agenda of the present administration.'
He posited that the linkage between researchers and industry would not only enhance commercialisation of research findings but would also lead to strong innovations and technology transfers.
Bindir also advised government to recognise Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as key to economy development, adding that STI was important for the actualisation of the country's vision 20:2020.
In his presentation, the Deputy Director, ISESCO, Dr. Ismaila Abdelhamid urged Nigeria to develop intellectual property to foster innovation.
He said: 'Intellectual Property (IP) is a tool to foster innovation as it represents the search for balance between making all knowledge available within the public domain and granting ownership of valuable discoveries to the inventors.
'IP is intergral to all the six components of innovation which includes R&D in the public and private sectors; safe and effective regulatory systems; the ability to produce new products to high standards of quality; a national distribution system in both the public and private sectors; and international distribution systems and trade in technologies.'