Friday, Nov 2, 2018 11:20 am
The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has shown willingness to support LAUTECH Nanotechnology Research Group (NANO+) in its research efforts. Professor Mohammed A. Umar, Director, Science Infrastructure, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and member of the National Steering Committee on Nanotechnology Development who represented the minister could not hide his admiration for the activities of the group at the just concluded 3-day conference on nanotechnology organized by the group between 23 and 25th October, 2018. He encouraged the group to focus more on researches that can lead to product formation, adding that a research center that caters for nanotechnology research has been established in the country.
The head of the group, Professor Agbaje Lateef in his welcome address said the theme of the conference “Nanotechnology for Sustainable Development: Prospects for Africa” was chosen to reflect on ways by which nanotechnology could be used to solve problems in the continent of Africa and called for funding from both private and public sectors for nanotechnology-based researches. He chronicled the achievements of the group stating that the membership had risen from five to eleven, and that members have published thirty articles in reputable journals under Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, IEEE (USA), IET (UK) and DeGruyter. He also mentioned that several undergraduates have been trained in the art of nanoscience and nanotechnology, and at least five Master degree scholars have been produced in this field , while a number of Master and doctoral candidates are carrying out investigations on nanotechnology under supervision of members in various Departments in the University.
While declaring the conference open, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor A.S. Gbadegesin noted that the successful organization of the conference after the group’s maiden workshop held in August 2017 was an indication that LAUTECH was back on ground despite funding challenges. He said the research group has greatly promoted the image of the University and encouraged members to continue in the same vein. He noted with pleasure, how the conference has attracted scientists from different fields and institutions to participate in the workshop and conference.
The keynote address titled “Nanomaterials Research: A wonderful world of great opportunities in Africa” was delivered by Professor A.O. Adegoke of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Ibadan. He gave some background basics about nanotechnology and nanomaterials, while noting that nanomaterials were fast becoming a wonderful world of research in science and technology. He said a lot of governments in developed countries have hugely invested in nanotechnology because the products have great economic potentials and offer possible solutions to natural problems ranging from energy efficacy to detection of infectious agents in water.
The guest speaker, Professor S.O. Jekayinfa, gave a lot of areas of application of nanotechnology and how they can be adopted to solve series of problems facing Africa. In his lecture, he stated that the nanotechnology applications that can benefit African countries in the near future could be broadly related to energy storage, production and conversion; enhancement of agricultural productivity; water treatment and remediation; and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
In his goodwill message, the representative of the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Umar promised that the ministry would reach out to all groups working in the area of nanotechnology within and outside the country, while he also revealed that NASENI has established a center of excellence in nanotechnology research and has procured over 90% of state-of-the-art equipment that are needed for nanotechnology research. The Vice-Chancellor of Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan, Professor J.K. Oloke commended the activities of LAUTECH Nanotechnology Research Group and urged the group to disseminate information about the conference to put the program and other achievements of the group in the public domain for the attention of owner states of Oyo and Osun that jointly own LAUTECH, noting that scholars in the University were trying their best to make meaningful contribution to nation building.
The Dean of Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences of the institution, Professor Abiodun T. Oladipo and Professor (Mrs). M.A Akinloye from the Department of Pure and Applied Physics both commended NANO+ group for the achievements made so far. Prof. Oladipo further requested the Ministry of Science and Technology to include scholars like Professor Lateef who have made landmark achievements in nanotechnology research in the country in the National Steering Committee on Nanotechnology Development, to formulate polices, and produce curriculum for nanotechnology education for undergraduate and postgraduate students. In addition, he suggested that a special fund from TETfund should be set aside for nanotechnology researches with mandate for the development of nano-products.
Professor Akeem A. Raheem in his goodwill message expressed his happiness about the activities of NANO+ group and stated how the knowledge gained from the workshop organized in 2017 has impacted positively on his research in the area of building technology, while Prof. Adekunle A Bakare of the Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan also praised the group for her leadership roles at popularizing studies in nanotechnology in Nigeria. In his own remark, Dr. M.A. Adabanija stated the need for the establishment of Department of Material Science in LAUTECH to aid the development of research activities in nanotechnology. He further highlighted the need to have centers of excellence in all the geopolitical zones in the country. The conference witnessed the presence of key participants and distinguished Professors from about thirty-five institutions and agencies in Nigeria. While seventy-two postgraduate students and early career scientists attended the one-day workshop on synthesis, characterization and applications of nanoparticles on 23 October, 2018, about sixty papers were presented at the conference (24-25 October, 2018) in diverse areas of agriculture, science, engineering and medical fields that can engender development in Africa through the multidisciplinary field of nanotechnology. The opening ceremony held on 24 October, 2018 drew large audience from the academia and members of the public that included about 100 students of a primary and five secondary schools.