Technology: How FUTA Combines Town and Gown

Dr Godknows Igali, left, Timipre Sylva and Professor FuwapeIt is a sincere synergy between the town and the gown that can bring development to a country. This is the case with developed countries. This is what happened between Silicon Valley, a region in Northern California that serves as a global centre for high technology and innovation and Stanford University’s engineering school.

Ritika Trikha wrote in an article, The Interdependency of Stanford and Silicon Valley: “Stanford’s engineering school has had a strong hand in building the tech boom that surrounds it today. It’s not only witnessed but also notoriously housed, some of the most celebrated innovations in Silicon Valley.

While Stanford faculty and students have made notable achievements across disciplines, their role in shaping the epicentre of The Age of Innovation is perhaps one of the top — if not the most unique — distinguishers. As the world’s eyes fixate on the booming tech scene in Silicon Valley, Stanford’s affiliation shines brightly in the periphery.”

That was why Oluwadare Oyebode of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti said in a paper: “Resilient infrastructures, technological advancement, improvement of engineering facilities, problem solving and demand-driven research will remain a mirage until there is appropriate synergy between academia and industries.”

That is exactly what the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA, are doing. The Ministry has given firm assurance of support to FUTA in its continued stride to deepen the country’s self-reliance in critical technology. The assurance was given by the Minister of State, Mr. Timipre Silva when the Pro chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Dr Godknows Igali , members of the Council and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, paid a working visit to the ministry in Abuja in furtherance of the University-Industry partnership Engagement and collaboration.  The Minister assured FUTA of support in its ongoing efforts to birth a top-notch Department of Chemical Engineering, Research in Biofuels- Bioethanol and Master plan in Gas development.

Dr Igali told the minister and members of his team that FUTA has the requisite manpower to also support the ministry in the areas of critical research in petroleum and gas related fields.  He stated that the university will support the Ministry with Expertise in Innovation and Technology, Implementation of the ministry’s Gas master plan through FUTA’s Dept. of Mining Engineering, Applied Geophysics and also Partner with the ministry in Biofuel and Bio-ethanol research and production and training of workers of the ministry. The Pro-chancellor presented ample evidence of FUTA’s cutting edge researches and highlights the achievements of the university as the best university of Technology in Nigeria, with seasoned researchers like Prof. Ganiyu  Oboh who was adjudged the best researcher in Nigeria in 2021.

The Minister of state expressed his delight in the proposed University-Industry partnership. He said it was necessary that researchers in the university add to the local content of NNPC. He said as a minister of state he had been able to improve the local content from 3% to 10% and the aim is to achieve 30% local content. He said he was not happy that some of the technical works that Nigerians can successfully execute are awarded to foreign experts. He challenged academics to relate more with industries and not just stay in the ivory tower. Mr. Silva advised Universities and research institutions to publish and make available their research findings and products so that companies and other end users could benefit and buy into them.

He elaborated on the Masterplan of the ministry on Gas. He stated that the different derivatives from gas include: power/ energy generation, production of petrochemicals, production of chemicals etc. He emphasized that the country will create many job opportunities and improves the economy if the gas master plan is carefully implemented.

Other council members on the entourage of the Pro-chancellor were Dr Bridget Zidon, Chief Jamiu Ekungba , Dr Ikechukwu Odikpo , and Mr Achede Owoicho