The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof Idowu Olayinka, has said the institution will soon incorporate both primary and secondary school students as a way of helping them get insight into their future endeavours while also connecting the academia and the society at large. He said the objective would be achieved through the University of Ibadan Research and Development (UIRESDEV) arm of the institution. The VC disclosed while speaking through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships), Prof Olanike Adeyemo, in his welcome address at the opening of a 2-day Research and Development Fair (UIRESDEV) aptly tagged UI-Town Connect 2019. The event which signals the commencement of the UI 2019 Convocation ceremonies with the theme "Societal Need-Driven Research for National Development" held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. The UIRESDEV Fair was fully sponsored by Airtel Nigeria, MultiCAD Nigeria Limited and Palms 77 Hostel (a private hostel within the campus of the University of Ibadan). The VC said on the prospects, "It is an opportunity to see what they can become, the possibilities they have, aspirations to become undergraduate students, and indeed come back to teach after graduation which will invariably lead them to research, the lifeline of any surviving economy." Prof Olayinka also mentioned the need for effective communication and partnership among the academia, government and the industry, to judiciously work together to advance the economy of Nigeria, saying “most of the time the academia do a lot of research but need to bring it down, bring it out and collaborate so that they can actually move Nigeria forward, based on the research products emanating from institutions”. Noting that such is the essence of UIRESDEV, the VC challenged students to write projects that will solve identified problems in industries, and not projects that would only be good for bookshelves, saying "research is to be geared to meet societal needs." Speaking at the occasion, The Group Managing Director, Odu’a Investment Company Limited, Mr Adewale Raji noted that “creativity, innovation and skilful manpower among other factors are critical to running a profitable and sustainable organisation”. And to achieve this, he said, a company will have to outperform the other through regular research and a well-laid plan for future needs, adding that "for a productive output, there must be synergy between the universities and the business world. He harped on the need for the government to strengthen the rope between the institutions and private partners. He enjoined the government to invest in human capital to have a balanced life. In his opening remark, Mr Oluseye Oyeleye, Acting Director-General, DAWN Commission remarked that a country cannot develop without having relevant innovation and research, and has partnered with UI to technically simplify the nexus between town and gown, and disrupt the much-perceived gap that exists between university researcher and the development practitioners. He added that “the public and private sector in Nigeria today is thirsting for purpose, ideas and innovations from the ivory tower (university)”. He, therefore, challenged researchers and institutions to continue to re-invent themselves, to continue to be relevant. In his address, the Chairman of the occasion and Director General, The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayo Olukanni said the greatest resources we can have is “human resources” that must be handled with care and trained for manpower. In a statement by Ambassador Olukanni, “Nigeria need to take a bold step to commercialise its research output, and the commercialisation needs to start in Nigeria, our home country”. He encouraged universities not to leave their research work in the laboratory, but relate it to society, to meet the societal needs. Goodwill messages from Sir (Prof) S. Ibi Ajayi KSG, FNES, Prof of Economics and Distinguished Service Fellow, Department of Economics, University of Ibadan. He encouraged secondary school students to pursue their hope and triumph, enumerating that he believes so much in research. Prof Ibi Ajayi said the mandate of universities is to create knowledge and ensure that knowledge is created and geared towards societal goals through research. He said research is policy-relevant interest and universities should commit themselves to it and allow it to affect the society positively. He challenged universities to engage in research that will benefit the local man through knowledge-based research. He further stated that a lot of knowledge sharing is important to the industries, for good output, and that research enhances productivity. President, Philosophers Association of Nigeria, Distinguished Prof Jim I. Unah FNPA, FNAL, said the University of Ibadan is still on the tripod of teaching, research and community service. He enjoined premier university to collaborate with private schools for knowledge purpose. In his words, “as we work for innovation and creativity, we should also think of working on our characters”. In her closing remarks, Dr. Omotosho said research is the pathway, therefore, UIRESDEV is a pathway that has been chosen. She said UIRESDEV will take the gown to town, as it proposed. In attendance were students from nine (9) secondary schools within Ibadan metropolitan. Present at the occasion were the Registrar, Mrs Olubunmi O. Faluyi; Deans of Faculties, Directors, staff, students and researchers.
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