UNN hosts experts on Science Park

To help Nigeria migrate from commodity–based market to knowledge-based economy, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has held a workshop in collaboration with Ideon Science Park of Sweden and LundaVision AB to drive sensitisation of stakeholders on the viability of Science Park and Innovation Ecosystem.
The workshop, held from February 20 to 23, was attended by Science Park experts from Sweden, South Africa and Kenya.
Also in attendance were representatives of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry for Trade and Investment, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Customs and parastatals handling technology and innovation projects.
The UNN, in 2016, launched the pilot version of Science Park named “Roar Nigeria Hub”, which was said to be the first university-embedded Science and Technology Incubator Hub in the country.
The school allotted 45.9 hectares of land for the construction of a full-fledged Science Park, which is expected to attract over 400 companies scouting for research and innovations from the university.
The Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Benjamin Ozumba, said the workshop was a move by the school to “restore the dignity of man”. He said the university was championing efforts towards building a knowledge-based economy.
The VC said the workshop was aimed at sensitising members of the academia, researchers, entrepreneurs, ministries and agencies on the need to acquire skills and required training to build a competitive 21st century economy.
Prof Ozumba said the seminar was a follow-up to his trips to Sweden to understudy the operations of science parks in the Scandinavian country.
He said: “This international workshop is our modest effort to domesticate what we learnt in Sweden and to help in creating the needed culture of innovation in our country.”
Explaining the benefits of a Science Park in the university, founder of Ideon Science Park and Chief Executive Officer of LundaVision AB, Dr Sven Thore Holm, said the workshop would help in the industrial training of students and enhance linkage between researchers and industry professionals.
Holm added that the science park project would help in the diversification of Nigerian economy, saying several companies would fall in the value chain when the park kicks off.
The project, according to Holm, will also help drive employment that will lead to the growth of entrepreneurial activities among the youth.
Prof Per Erikson of Lund University in Sweden, in his keynote address, urged university administrators to channel their energy to lead innovation revolution.
He stated that the task of universities was not only to educate students and carry out research, but also to lead innovation and provide leadership to the private sector.
“Universities should begin to think of what to do to help the government grow the economy,” Prof Erikson said, pointing out that universities must play lead role in the transition to knowledge-based economy.

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