The Nigerian Communications Commission has a budget of N252.2m as research grant for higher institutions in the country, Executive-Vice Chairman of commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, disclosed on Thursday.
The research grant is available for members of the academia who are conducting research on issues that relate to the development of the telecommunications industry.
Danbatta, who was represented by Dr. Haru Alhassan, Director, New Media and Information Security, disclosed this at a stakeholders forum with the academia in Abuja, which was attended by Vice Chancellors of several public and private universities in the country.
Noting that the number of grants awarded by the NCC depends on budgetary provision, he said, “The Commission has research portfolio size of Two Hundred and Fifty-Two Million, Two Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty-Six Naira (N252,274,286.00).
“In year 2013, the Commission only awarded one Research Grant, and there have been minimal annual increase in subsequent years. However, last year under my watch, the total number of Research Grants given increased to 11 from the previous year of 7 awards in year 2017.”
The Commission’s funding for research and development was in accordance with global standards, he added.
The NCC has identified academia as ‘critical stakeholders’ in the telecoms sector, Danbatta observed.
To further encourage research works that could impact positively on the development of the industry, the NCC is to offer Research Fellowship positions to deserving members of the academic community.
“We intend to offer Research Fellowship positions for in-depth research and exploration of problems the industry is facing whilst improving the researchers’ experience of the industry,” the NCC EVC said.
Already, a National Steering Committee made up of the National Universities Commission, the National Board for Technical Education, the academia, and industry operators have been set up to develop a roadmap that would ensure that academic researches address local industry needs and tertiary institutions produce ‘industry-ready’ graduates.