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Researchers task academics on solutions-driven research

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•Academics need mentors – Prof. Selematsela
•Private-Public parnership required to fund research – Prof. Ikupolati

By Dayo Adesulu



Education stakeholders have reiterated  the need  for academicians to concentrate on solutions-driven research just as  international researchers at the on going International Conference on Knowledge and Innovation Management hosted by Babcock University said ”Government is  not  perusing  research, because they are not impactful”. They disclosed that for research  to be impactful, it must be contemporary and  solve contemporary  problems  while they stressed that  the  challenge  generally is the need for stakeholders in academics to be pragmatic  and  for  government to provide conducive atmosphere for research .

Professor Pat Utomi, Professor Daisy Selematsela, Professor Ademola Tayo, Professor Iheanyichukwu Okoro and Professor Prince Mike Ikupolati among others  spoke on  Stimulating a Culture of Knowledge Management and Innovation for Sustainabe Development’  and  lamented  to dearth of research in the ivory tower.Utomi , the guest speaker,said ”Research  suffered a challenge especially under the military and as a result of this, the prestige  universities  deserve for research depends on power. Inadequate funding  has forced many Nigerian researchers overseas to commercialise their solutions.

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“People in our university system who  keep generating good ideas that can move society forward can’t thrive in a stiffling environment. However, I see some gradual changes in the university system  and  especially some  private universities. They  look out for what some  serious students are trying to do with venturing, creating value and try to facilitate the process.  Where  is our endorsement in Nigeria, the biggest cassava producer in the world? It’s very important to build our development strategy around endorsements and value chains which some economists define as latent comparative advantage.

” The richest guys in the world  came up with some knowledge-based things and many of them started with nothing, but because there was knowledge  they could build on, they got it right. We should effectively encourage young people to know that knowledge is the basis of striving. If they see the incentives in converting knowledge to enterprise, they will be motivated”.

In his remarks, Chairman, GIC Nigeria Limited, Abuja, Professor  Mike Ikupolati said “We have a beautiful way of providing a bridge between the gown and the town” stressing that  without the effective leadership of an organization, it will be impossible for knowledge and innovation management to be impactful. For  society to feel the impact of a research, he noted, ”there must be  executive buying. Who is an executive in  an institution?  It’s not the management of the university but functional leadership.

”We need effective leadership to drive knowledge management and until that is done, researching   might be difficult. We have  single loop learning, a situation where you discover the error and then you correct the error but you don’t change the existing policy, procedures and practises of the organization. Moreover,  double loop learning is when  you discover  the error and modify it. For research to be effective, there must be a bridge between the government and university. There are a lot of research going on in the academic environment in Nigeria, but they need to be utilized  by government. Why is government not perusing them?. Research will have  impact if it’s  contemporary and  provides solutions to current problems. The Sustainable Development Commission defines research as   development that satiates  the need of the present without compromising the ability of the third generation to satiate theirs. We must have  development system that  facilitates continuity, so research must solve present problems and provide solutions for future problems. If  it doesn’t  government may not peruse it. We expect  stakeholders in academics to  look into current problems and research  them” .

”There are three processes in research including  knowledge generation, knowledge application and knowledge adoption or diffusion. Without the executive  and  leaders   at  organizational and national levels, buying into the goals of knowledge- driven research, application as well as diffusion would be difficult. Generally, research  must be current and government  must be supportive. The academia requires  effective funding. Currently, we are on strike and not working. It’s very painful,because  we  do not wish to stay at home but  we wanted to convince  government  about the need  for effective funding. Of  course,  resources available to government  are  scarce  and it must prioritise. Education is the foundation for   development. Though some  universities are saying that we are highly ranked but  it’s the five top universities out of twenty six universities in South Africa  that were supported by  government. Every  new government in South Africa prioritises  resources  according to the research strengths  of  universities.”

Meanwhile, the President/Vice-Chancellor, Babcock University, Professor Ademola Tayo, in his welcome address said that when new knowledge is available, there is learning that enhances an organization’s ability to innovation.

He said: ‘’The Babcock University will continue to work with both the office of Research, Innovation and International Development and the Department of Information Resources Management to ensure that the university maintains and improves on its enviable position today.’’

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