Stakeholders seek to address challenges around commercialization of research prototypes – The Sun Nigeria

By Chinenye Anuforo

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Academia and other stakeholders in telecoms sector yesterday at a forum in Lagos explored ways to address the challenges and issues around commercialization of research prototypes.

Speaking at the ongoing two-day Regional Roundtable with Academia, Industry and Other Stakeholders, in the South West region, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta, said that the event is to encourage the commercialization of locally developed telecommunications innovations – which hitherto had been sponsored by the Commission, as a way of fostering and deepening the indigenous technological capabilities of Nigerians, to support the overall growth of the industry and creating wealth for the spin-off companies.

Danbatta who was represented by the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of the commission said the Commission is now focused on supporting the academia in the commercialization 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.

“As you may be aware, the Commission collaborates with the Academia in maximizing the contributions of our tertiary institutions to innovations and sustainable development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Industry.

He said that at the end of 2021, the commission had provided the sum of Five Hundred and Twenty Two Million, Five Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ten Naira, Twenty Seven Kobo (522,551,910.27) as Research Grants to tertiary institutions. Each research is designed to deliver a prototype that can be commercialized for the benefit of the industry and consumers.”

Danbatta stated the Academia is a key driver of innovation in all spheres of human endeavour. But in specific terms, the ideas, inventions and improvements that emanate from the Academia are required by industry for improved efficiencies and productivity.

He said, “With this in mind, the regulator as a critical component of any ecosystem, aims to ensure all stakeholders are protected and the industry nurtured for maximum benefit to business and society.

Faced with the challenges of Commercialising research prototypes, it is clear that the Commission will have to make a commitment to facilitate the contributions from Academia, by supporting the commercialization of these prototypes, to deepen the indigenous technological capabilities which would support the overall development of the industry.”

On his own part, the Chairman of the NCC, Professor Adeolu Akande said the 2022 Regional Roundtable is targeted at bringing together relevant players and agencies to develop a framework/template commercializing telecommunication-based research prototypes which emanated from NCC research grants to the academia.

According to him, experience indicates that even the most promising ideas face daunting commercialization challenges as difficulty always exists between promising concepts and viable products. This event will provide a forum for stakeholders to share experiences and exchange ideas on the best strategies to adopt in commercializing viable innovative research outputs from our Academia.

“I believe our discussions will generate new ideas and strategies for addressing commercializing challenges that confront our researchers,” he added.

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