By Mohammed Mohammed
The Director General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim has said that insufficient research funding is a major setback to technology development of the country.
Speaking at the Commissioning ceremony of the 64th Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Office (IPTTO) established by NOTAP at Federal University Kashere, Gombe State, the Director General, represented by the Director Technology Acquisition and Research Coordination (TARC) department, Mrs. Caroline Anie-Osuagwu reiterated that no nation develops technologically without giving premium attention to research and development (R&D).
He added that in developed Countries, substantial percent of their national budget is devoted to research while in Nigeria and other developing countries, research funding is treated with kings’ glove.
The DG informed the gathering that NOTAP was established to regulate the inflow of foreign technologies into the Country through the registration of technology transfer agreements but also has the duty to encourage the development of indigenous technologies.
He said that in carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Office realised that there was weak intellectual property (IP) culture in our knowledge institutions and for the Country to develop technologically, we must develop a vibrant and sustainable IP ecosystem that is capable of driving innovation in the Country.
Dr. Ibrahim said that in other to encourage IP culture and create intellectual property awareness within the knowledge institutions across the nation, NOTAP in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2006 commenced the establishment of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in our tertiary and research establishments.
The DG stated that the establishment of IPTTOs in our knowledge institutions was necessitated by the urgent need to move the nation from a technologically dependent to an independent nation through harnessing and utilization of indigenous skills.
He further stated that the difference between developed and emerging nations was their level of technology development, therefore there was need for IP awareness creation to ensure that Nigerian researchers are fully abreast of the inherent benefits in undertaking research that will translate into tangible goods and services.
The DG reiterated the need to increase IP advocacy to arouse the interest of the research community into patenting their inventions before publishing.
He encouraged researchers to approach NOTAP with their research findings so that the Office will assist them in patenting them at no cost.
He further stated that Nigerian researchers are skillful enough and had embarked on numerous researches but lost them to the industrialised nations through publishing, exhibitions and seminar presentations before patenting them, adding that by creating IP awareness, researchers are now protecting their research works before publishing.
He revealed that NOTAP assists researchers in writing patent claims, file for patent and pay for patenting fees and only call the them for collection of the patent certificate.
In his welcome speech, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Umar Pate, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor administration, Prof. Abubakar Umar Gurama said that the establishment of IPTTO in Federal University Kashere was the beginning of a new era, adding that though the university is relatively young, its achievements in area of research can equal the first generation universities.
He said that NOTAP is strategic to the development of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) ecosystems through its programmes in closing the gap between the academia and industry.
He encouraged the staff of the institution to take the IP training seriously as it will help in re-focusing their research undertakings.
In her goodwill message, the Commissioner of Education, Gombe State Ministry of Education, Dr. Aishatu Umar Maigari congratulated the university of being counted worthy to host IPTTO in the institution. She expressed joy for being part of the team that visited NOTAP to make a case for establishment of IPTTO in Gombe State, adding that the State is lucky to have IPTTO established in both the Federal and State university in her time as Commissioner.
She charged researchers within and outside the university community to make maximum use of the opportunity for the development of the Country as well as for their personal benefits.
Signed: Raymond Onyenezi Ogbu, NOTAP Media/Corporate Communications.