NCDMB hosts workshop for academia, oil industry players in S/East

Given the importance of Research and Development to growing Nigerian Content in the oil and gas industry and meeting the objectives of the Nigerian Content 10-year strategic roadmap, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on Wednesday began a 3-day Research and Development (R&D) Zonal Workshop for oil industry players and the academia.

The workshop was held at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) in Imo State and it focussed on needs-driven research and how to deepen collaboration and linkages between the oil and gas industry and academia.

Other objectives were to provide a forum for discussions and demonstration of research breakthroughs on software and hardware as they relate to oil and gas industry needs, bioremediation, and oil field chemicals solutions, such as additives and drilling fluids, and renewable solutions to meet industry needs.

In a keynote address at the event, the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe, said the Board is empowered by Sections 36-39 and 70 (m) of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010, to “coordinate and superintend over research and development towards developing Nigerian Content in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.”

He noted that NCDMB had developed a Research and Development Roadmap, which has helped to identify critical gaps hampering the research climate in the oil and gas sector.

He added that lack of research infrastructure, funding, and weak commercial frameworks had been identified as some of the key challenges and efforts were being made to close those gaps.

He stated that NCDMB had made giant strides in implementing the Research and Development Roadmap.

He said that “the establishment of Research Centres of Excellence in the six geopolitical zones of the country and the establishment of the R&D Fund to stimulate research in the oil and gas sector were some of the measures recommended to remedy the identified gaps.”

“The Nigerian Content Research and Development Fund,” he explained, was launched by the Board in 2021 “with an initial seed capital of $50 million.”

Five percent of the fund is segmented to support basic, ten percent is dedicated to applied research while five percent is dedicated to Endowments. In addition, research centers of excellence get twenty percent of the fund, while, while sixty percent of the fund is committed to the commercialisation of research breakthroughs.The NCDMB boss affirmed that the commissioning of the Amal Technology Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing Facility in Abuja was a major success of the research-related endeavours of the NCDMB.

He noted that the research commercialisation of the Amal project was achieved through the NCDMB Technology Innovation and Incubation policy which created the Technology Innovation and Incubation Centre inside the Nigerian Content Towers at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The Executive Secretary was represented by the General Manager, Planning, Research and Statistics, NCDMB, Mr Silas Omomehin Ajimijaye and he pointed out that the Board’s six research centres of excellence are hosted by tertiary institutions in different geopolitical zones.

They are Niger Delta University, with CoE for Engineering Studies; Federal University of Technology (FUT), Akure; FUT, Owerri, and FUT, Minna, with CoE in Geology and Geophysical Studies, Local Raw Materials Substitution, and Technology Development, Studies, respectively. Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, with CoE in Safety and Environment Studies, and Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, with CoE in Renewable Energy.

In her welcome remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Prof. (Mrs.) Nnenna Nnannaya Oti, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. C.M Agu, commended NCDMB for establishing the Centre of Excellence in Local Materials Substitution Studies and acknowledged the receipt of a research equipment “the Drop Shape Analyser” donated by Chevron under the Board’s Research and Development Projects.

The VC lauded the NCDMB for being in the forefront of fostering Research and Innovation geared at increasing Local Content in the Oil and Gas Industry. According to the University don, NCDMB has provided the needed bridge between academia and industry through Research and Development round table meetings, R & D Fairs and establishment of Centre of Excellence in Universities including FUTO.

She added that the University appreciates the Centre of Excellence status it enjoys as well as the partnership that has been fostered by the Board over the years, recalling that computers had been donated to the university by the NCDMB to aid Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and digital penetration in the university community and its environs.

In a charge to all stakeholders, Prof. Agu encouraged participants to utilise the opportunity to sharpen their skills in proposal writing, explore and exploit all opportunities for collaboration and linkages both with the available industries and fellow researchers.

He further urged other government agencies to tow the path of the NCDMB to bring Innovation, Development and Economic Growth in other sectors.

Delivering her address on the programme overview, the Managing Director, Wider Perspectives Limited, Mrs. Edughom Hanson, said the workshop was geared towards stimulating linkages and collaboration between academia and industry players within the R&D space, adding that interactions between oil and gas industry players, academics, and government (Triple Helix) are vital to strengthen the country’s national development.

She noted that, among other objectives, the workshop seeks to develop and buttress NCDMB’s drive for the actualisation of her Research and Development (R&D) 10–year roadmap; build the capacity of research directors and lecturers in writing and reading compelling research proposals.

The workshop is scheduled to be hosted in the six geopolitical zones of the country where NCDMB domiciled its Centres of Excellence. The workshop is also intended to enhance capacity building of research directors and lecturers, particularly in writing and reading compelling research proposals.

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