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Author Topic: Experts brainstorm on application of Nanotechnology in developing countries  (Read 3758 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
Expert in Bioscience Issues
Posts: 657

« on: September 13, 2011, 09:04:42 am »

Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale.  Although very advanced and complex, nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production.  The interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology enables diversification and development in order to improve quality of life.
Against his background, an international conference was organized by Alexander  von Humbolt  Foundation of Germany at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.
The theme of the conference is: Potential Applications of Nanotechnology in Developing Countries of  West Africa: Trend of Research  Activities.
Renowned scholars and experts from South Africa,Ghana,Germany,Egypt,Including Nigeria attended the four day event.
In his welcome address, Vice Chancellor of LAUTECH, Professor Lanrewaju Nassar, said application of Nanoscience and nanotechnology to the needs of the developing world in the areas of energy storage, production and conversion; enhancement of agricultural productivity; water treatment and remediation; and the diagnosis and treatment of disease cannot be over-emphasized. 
Prof. Nassar noted that other potential applications of nanotechnology in developing countries include: drug delivery systems, food processing and storage, air pollution and remediation, construction, health monitoring and vector and pest detection and control.  
“It has also been established that a surprising amount of nanotechnology research and development activity is ongoing in several developing countries, and that these nations are directing their nanotechnology innovation systems to address their more pressing needs.  It will therefore not be out of place if researchers in these relevant areas gather together to brainstorm on the achievements made so far and possible expansion of their research horizons”.
The VC noted that the University is not left out on other international sponsorship programmes, as members of staff have enjoyed international exchange programmes of Third World Academic of Science (TWAS), Commonwealth, DAAD, and JPSSS.
Also speaking, the Consulate-General of the Germany Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Walter L. von den Driesch, explained that the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation aims to support excellence and to create an expanding global network of cultural and scientific dialogue on highest levels.  
According to him, “The Humboldt Foundation has sponsored more than 25,000 scientists and scholars from all over the world, including 44 Nobel Prize winners and has never set quota for countries of origin nor fields of research in the selection of future Humboldt fellows.  The only criterion was – and always will be –scientific excellence.  So far the Humboldt Foundation has granted well above 1000 research fellowships to excellent scientists and scholars from Africa, amongst them approximately 190 from Nigeria”.
In his opening remark, convener of the conference, Engineer Dr. Sola Jekayinfa, said the goal of the conference is to stimulate collaboration and research interests in the application of nanotechnology to all facets of development in the West Africa sub-region.  
“These fields of science and technology cut across several disciplines which include agricultural engineering, chemical engineering, civil and construction engineering, microbiology, animal science & production, agronomy, agricultural economics and extension, rural sociology, food science and engineering, medical sciences, pharmacology and pharmaceuticals and all other allied disciplines.  The conference will strengthen networking in the field of natural science and engineering, and foster mentorship of young researchers.  The conference will also feature topical issues on capacity building for research proposal writing for young and old researchers.”
Dr. Jekayinfa however urged every government (including developing nations) to invest in nanotechnology to bring about improvement in sectors such as healthcare, water, agriculture, energy and environment.
In his key note address, Professor Tunji Ibiyemi of the University of Ilorin, advised the Federal Government to urgently address mass failure in NECO/SSCE to empty laboratories and libraries in tertiary institutions.
Prof. Ibiyemi said this became necessary if indeed Nigeria wants to become one of the twenty worlds leading economy by the year 2020, adding that if not it will simply follow our usual literature in technology.  
The Don further asserted that mere propagation of literature in technology only helps the technology developers to have market growth and not for market competition. 
He noted that there is no developer of a new technology that will readily transfer his technology but every technology developer provides literature on his technology for market growth. 
“A major platform for contribution to any technology is effective participation in research and development.  Hence, the problem facing our educational system must be immediately addressed’’

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