Edo Varsity VC calls for improved industry-funded research in Nigeria’s universities

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The University of Benin (UNIBEN) Faculty of Engineering on Wednesday hosted its Alumni Lecture Series, with the keynote speaker, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor, speaking on the topic, “Triple Helix Model: A Key to Fostering Innovation in Nigerian Universities”.
Prof. Aluyor highlighted the importance of the Triple Helix model in promoting innovation in universities, emphasizing the interconnectedness of academia, industry and the government in driving research and development.


According to Prof. Aluyor, the government should collaborate with academia to fund innovative research, as universities become more entrepreneurial and play a more direct role in economic development. He said that, the Triple Helix model’s expectations are excessively idealistic for many African countries due to specific circumstances of universities in Africa. However, the important feature of this hybrid model is that each player is interconnected with another and contributes to the establishment of interfaces between them.
He noted that the triple helix system has been successful in South Africa, where universities account for approximately fourteen percent of all South Africa patents, contributing about ninety-one percent of the total publication in the country.
However, Nigeria and other African countries are confronted with a paradoxical problem due to the decline in research leadership in universities, as neither the government nor the industry has taken up the mantle of fundamental research.
Despite this challenge, Nigerian universities have secured funding in the form of grants running into billions of naira from companies like Shell, BUA group, and others for research projects. Prof. Aluyor emphasized that the Triple Helix model is more than philanthropic donations to universities in Nigeria but transcends into a mutually beneficial relationship to all the three key players – government, academia, industry.


Explaining entrepreneurship from the Triple Helix, he said the university has become a critical source of education, research, and innovation for firms to drive economic growth.
He cited the example of Edo State University, Uzairue, where he is the Vice Chancellor, and how the university earmarked the sum of five million naira for entrepreneurship support for its undergraduates who have beautiful business ideas to develop.
He concluded that the Triple Helix Model is crucial for ensuring the sustainable development of Nigerian Universities and Nigeria as a nation through collaboration among key actors rather than relying solely on donations for development.
He recommended that enterprises should allocate resources towards supporting research endeavours with potential for scalable product development.
Earlier in her welcoming address, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Imuetinyan Salami, who was represented by Prof. Eguagie Ani, thanked the keynote speaker for his thorough research and urged participants to give rapt attention and make contributions where necessary.
The Dean, Faculty of Engineering of the University, Prof. Emmanuel Oguijor, called for increased collaboration among stakeholders to provide adequate research funding in the university.
He said: “I want to thank everyone for your participation in this event especially the ICT department for their tremendous support and innovation. A university without innovation is not a university. It is through collaboration among stakeholders, government, academia, industry that the needed fund for quality research can be provided.”

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