Varsity Don Canvasses for Effective Research, as Tool for National Development
A Professor of Mycology/Mushroom Biology at the University of Benin, Edo State, Professor John Okhuoya, has enjoined faculty members of universities to focus largely on research as a sure path to innovation, leading to national development.
He made this call at Biotechnology Conference with the theme: ‘Biotechnology: Effective Solutions for Innovation and Sustainable Development,’ organised by the Biological Sciences Department of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State.
According to Professor Okhuoya, who was the Keynote speaker; Nigeria being almost a mono economy, largely focused on crude oil export, needs to move into other areas of revenue generation, therefore, can harness and utilize biotechnological approaches to provide effective solutions to improve agriculture, industrial and sustainable development.
He emphasized the role of strategic research work in national development; pointing out that there is no innovation without diligent research work. He encouraged scholars to take advantage of different research fundings available in diverse platforms to expand their reach and make innovative impact in their environment and the society at large.
Quoting the United Nations Bulletin of 1992, Okhuoya defined Biotechnology as, “any technological application that uses biological systems to make or modify a particular product for specific use.”
In his remarks at the event, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Charles Ayo, who declared the conference open on behalf of the Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo, expressed his excitement at the progress of the conference, its outcome, and the role it would play in bringing the University closer to her goal for the year, which is, Innovation, Product Development, and Nation Building. He stated that the conference could not have come at a better time than this.
Welcoming the guest speakers and participants, he encouraged them to build on the outcomes of the conference for both personal development and nation building, and appreciated the efforts of the department in packaging an outstanding conference.
The Head of Department, Biological Sciences, Professor Adesola Ajayi expressed her pleasure in having the opportunity to play a part in the planning and hosting of the conference. “We all know the importance of interactions, net-working and communication, not only for Biotechnology, but for the progress of any scientific discipline. It is also an integral part of research findings,” she stated.
She further said that the conference is hosted in conjunction with the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria. The symposium, she said, falls under three broad categories, Biotechnology, innovation and health, industrial Biotechnology and sustainable development and molecular diagnostics, the pride of modern medicine.
“Biotechnology is a multi-disciplinary field with a wide array of applications in medicine, industries, agriculture, aqua-culture, food technology and the environment. It is the knowledge employed in exploiting biological processes for industrial and other purposes, especially the genetic manipulation of micro-organisms, plants and animals for the production of antibiotics, medicine, pesticides and other things for the benefit of mankind,” said Professor Ajayi.
“A lot has been achieved with Biotechnological approaches to solving problems facing our country Nigeria, yet, a lot more has to be done,” she added.
The President of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, Mr. Rahim, in his speech, stated that the association was glad to partner with the University in order to drive a common goal of promoting better science education, the quality of health services in the nation, improving on the quality of human life and promoting interdisciplinary collaborations between various health institutions and training centers.
“By the grace of God, we will continue to abide by the objectives of the institute for the common good of man,” he said.
There were product exhibitions by both the university and its partners during the conference.
Also present at the event were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Taiwo Abioye; the Registrar, Pastor Olamide Olusegun; the Director, Financial Services, Pastor Dayo Oladehinbo; members of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria and members of the Department of Biological Sciences, including some members of the College of Science and Technology.