USING RESEARCH OUTCOMES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

BY HADIZA NDADAMA

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In the words of the English theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge. Similarly, The French Chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur said ‘Science knows no country because knowledge belongs to humanity.’

If then the success of the developed nations could be measured with the quantity and quality of research and development, what could be stopping the developing countries and indeed Nigeria in particular from achieving such developments?

There are quite a number of Nigerians overseas who are inventors with their innovations trending across the globe. The brain drain of such talents from the country to the developed world is continuing with up and coming talents who are good in innovation and research being lured with lucrative jobs and pay abroad.

Part of the challenges faced by Nigerian researchers is the lack of utilization of their research findings. A review of most libraries in the country will expose you to journals of research findings that have only ended up on the bookshelves. These efforts do not get to the end-users or used for the benefit of all, neither are they translated into the physical development of the country.

Annually, discoveries and ground-breaking research outcomes in science and technology are showcased during the annual expo of the Nigerian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation where research findings, inventions and innovations from local contents are always on display.

These innovations if properly utilized are capable of solving the unabated unemployment challenge in the country which clearly points to the fact that research is not lacking in Nigeria, but rather its utilization.

The results of millions of researches done in Nigeria are not seen impacting society. Research is to discover and find answers to meaningful questions aimed at remedying societal challenges.

Researchers use the media, journals, conferences, workshops, monographs, as well as books to ventilate the outcomes of their researches. In other climes as soon as research findings are released, the government and private sector key into it to move further for development purposes. That is not the case in Nigeria where research findings remain with either the researcher or ends up on book shelves. This has therefore reduced the impacts and outcomes of such researches on society.

Science and technology will continue to be seen as impenetrable as long as those who should tell the happenings are ostracized from policy-making and mainstream development efforts. The narrative on how research findings are handled must change in order to make the country understand that science and technology is the way to go.

Nigeria is now on the right track under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration which has created Ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation as well as the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to drive innovations and use technology for national development.

For the realization of the government dreams of using research, technology and innovation for development purposes, all stakeholders in the industry such as scientists, technologists, engineers and researchers should learn to share discoveries and knowledge.

The Nigerian Government should as a matter of necessity; appropriate adequate funds for research purposes right from the post-primary to tertiary levels of the nation’s educational system.

Communicating outcomes of research findings should not be limited to only the media or released only during workshops, journals, articles and conferences alone, Government should be interested in following up and further developing such findings and innovations.

Science and technology like life is dynamic, and so the players must not be fixated on the way they communicate outcomes of their research.

New media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, amongst others are trendy and easy means of reaching the necessary stakeholders particularly entrepreneurs that will buy into developing research outputs.

Researchers and scholars should make it a habit of writing columns in newspapers or host shows on radio/television to showcase what happens either in the laboratories or within the universities/research institutes.

It is only when research findings are translated into real products or services that will trigger sustainable development that could justify the desire of having an economy driven by science and technology.

PIAK

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