The University of Venda’s Director Research and Innovation, Senior Professor Georges Ekosse visited selected tertiary institutions in Nigeria and Ghana from the 10th-18th of November 2019. The institutions visited were University of Lagos (UNILAG) Lagos, Nigeria; Yaba College of Technology (Yaba Tech) Lagos, Nigeria; and Methodist University College Ghana (MUCG), Accra Ghana. The purpose of the working visit was to lay foundation where applicable; and develop and expand on research collaborations and networking of the institutions with University of Venda (UNIVEN).
Staff members at UNILAG present for the meeting included Professor Bola Oboh – Director Research and Innovation, Dr Hakeem Amuda – Deputy Director Innovation, Dr Helen Adekanmbi – Deputy Director Research, Dr Patrick Okonji – Research Fellow, and Mr Femi Keshinro from the International Relations, Partnerships and Prospects Office. Members of the two institutions exchanged ideas on the framework for actualising a mutually rewarding partnership. After extensive discussion, the meeting distilled the following as areas that could be explored for collaboration: staff exchange to build capacity, and building on strength of individual faculty to develop synergy. Suggestions were also advanced on active research collaboration; training of doctoral students together, and floating joint proposal to harness resources from African Billionaires.
It was agreed that the Research and Innovation Offices of the two universities should engage at the director level to synthesise the common areas of collaboration. These would then be built into a formal Memorandum of Understanding MoU). The Office of International Relations, Prospects and Partnership at UNILAG will work with UNIVEN’s Directorate of International Relations in finalizing the transaction.
Over the years, UNIVEN has received several former students of Yaba Tech registering for higher qualifications. Through the efforts of Dr OE Popoola, these students registered particularly in the Schools of Environmental Sciences, and Mathematical and Natural Sciences for MSc and PhD degrees at UNIVEN. Many have graduated, and one of them recently became a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher. During the engagement at Yaba Tech, discussions were thus held on expansion of the collaboration to include staff exchanges, joint supervision and execution of student and staff research projects.
It should be recalled that UNIVEN’s former Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Peter Mbati, led a delegation to Nigeria from 11th – 17th July 2017 as part of UNIVEN’s mission to increase its footprint in the African Continent. Highlights of the trip were visits to Universities of Ibadan and Lagos, and the launch of the University’s “Friends of the University of Venda”, which aims to strengthen its stakeholder relation in Nigeria.
In this trip to West Africa, Senior Professor Ekosse who is also an Applied Clay Mineralogist/ Environmental Geologist also carried out research fieldwork at the Ekuru Kaolins in Ogun State, Nigeria, as part of his continental research on Cretaceous-Tertiary Clay Deposits and Argillaceous Sediments covering ten African and South American countries. This research thrust has produced several MSc and PhD graduates, postdoctoral research fellows, and many articles in scientific journals and conference proceedings.
The Ghanaian leg of the working visit was to finalise discussions on the establishment of the MoU between UNIVEN and MUCG. The occasion was chaired by the President of the university, Professor Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw and moderated by the Registrar, Mr Okyere Boateng. Institutional research collaborations and networking between UNIVEN and MUCG were initiated in 2016, and much progress was made in June 2019. The need to deconstruct the colonial mentality by taking advantage of the opportunities within the continent to advance research, innovation, and institutional development was emphasized. Equally reiterated was for African universities to partner with African millionaires and billionaires in advancing research, innovation and technology transfer, as well as postgraduate training. Some of the areas of collaboration include: Co-supervision; Adjunct professor exchanges; training of doctoral candidates from MUCG; Working visits; Research collaboration between Schools and Faculties of both institutions.
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Date: 09 December 2019