Text of the NESG Forum on University Technology Transfer and Commercialization

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The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), in collaboration with the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TEFUND), held a Nigeria Triple Helix webinar with the theme “University Technology Transfer & Commercialization” on Thursday, August 26th, 2021.Professor Adekunle Adeyeye, Principal of Trevelyan College, University of Durham, said that collaboration between the universities, industry and government as enshrined in the Triple Helix model is essential in transferring technology and the commercialization of the education sector. “The Singapore economy is based on manufacturing. Most Singaporean universities are invested in human capital and Research and Development and encourage people in the academia to embark on research through an effective reward system that focuses on quality, and this translates to societal growth,” he stated. Professor Adeyeye said it was essential for the government to set up national research foundations that have the goal of bringing companies and research institutions together through competitive research teams, that will not only allow industry participation but also ensure the demonstration of disruptive technology that will improve the manufacturing industry and the country as a whole. He reiterated the need to have policies that encourage enterprise, research and high-impact innovation in Nigerian universities, which should be backed up with an appropriate reward system. “It is important to have a technology that is compatible with what companies are doing. Filing a patent is not the problem but how relevant such innovation will be to industries. Working with industries will help identify the problems companies are trying to solve. No company wants to invest in an approach that is not workable. Nigeria needs to get the right mindset and find ways of incentivizing successful people to become role models,” he stated.Professor Anna Fratinni Fileti, Executive Director UNOVAS, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), said UNICAMP is a public institution located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that supports innovation and was established to promote applied research. She stated that UNICAMP has a global partners program consisting of 9 members from different countries. Recent advances in regulations have helped aid the growth of startups and innovation in the university. Professor Fileti revealed that some of the bottlenecks the institution has encountered include decreasing government expenditure and timing but that the model should be adopted by Nigeria, because collaboration between industry, government and academia can significantly help transfer technology and commercialize the educational sector. She said the government should look into providing tax benefits that encourage technological development and knowledge transfer. The university should own the intellectual property delivered by the research conducted as a revenue generation.The former Managing Director, Oxford University Innovation Ltd, Tom Hockaday, said that to scale up technology transfer and commercialization, it is important that researchers should get the same remuneration as their counterparts in academia and that the core activity of Oxford University Innovation Ltd has not only shifted from generating income to generating impact but has also broadened from a strictly scientific perspective to a more generalized perspective. Dr. Caroline Alenoghena, Director of the entrepreneurship development centre, Federal University of Technology, Minna said that Acadopreneurship, a term coined from academia and entrepreneurship, was instituted by her university to turn academic ideas and innovation into viable businesses. She said the program includes 3 months explicitly dedicated to coaching and training.Furthermore, Dr. Alenoghena revealed that Acadopreneur is also an incubation hub that takes young entrepreneurs from the loop into the hub and provides training, support and mentorship alongside an immersion program. She said the university has many patents and will have a business clinic kicking off soon to develop 100 startups and new products in the next five years.

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