NNPC wants effective university-industry partnership
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has advocated increased synergy between Nigerian universities and the oil and gas industry to harness the gains of the Nigerian content agenda in the sector.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated this at the 23rd, 24th and 25th Convocation Lecture of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi over the weekend.
A statement by the corporation said Baru emphatically stated that to trigger substantial impact, university leadership needs to consider making collaboration with industry a top priority and communicate the message regularly to the entire academic community and captains of industry.
He said the ivory tower and the industry must seek workable and symbiotic partnership for the good of the institution and the growth of the industry.
According to him, studies conducted on European universities-business cooperation undertaken by a French group posited that it requires strong university leadership, and a faculty that understands business to emplace incentives and structures for academics to bridge that gap, overcome the cultural divide and make collaboration work.
He said experts further argued that the European universities could significantly increase their attractiveness to industry by making industry partnerships a clear priority and by attracting and developing a pool of academics who have worked in industry before.
He noted that the interplay of the role of the university, which includes undertaking scientific research, incubation of technology and breeding of high skilled manpower with that of industry’s promotion of innovation, are both necessary to enhancing the Nigerian Content policy in the oil and gas industry.
“They should headhunt and attract retired industry experts into their fold and get them to teach, research, co-mingle and rub minds thereby achieving what the European researchers advocated as a way to getting maximum university-Industry collaborations, ’’ he said.
Baru further said though the Nigerian Content practice had become fully institutionalized as a National Development imperative which redefined and opened up new frontiers for national economic growth and social stability in the Oil and Gas Industry, there is still a yearning gap to close in respect of instituting sustainable development innovation.
“Strategic partnerships need input at the highest level from both the company and the university. A joint steering team with senior academics and company executives with built-in flexibility is required to sustain long-term strategic partnerships that work best,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor ABTU, Prof Saminu Ibrahim, said the institution was ready to pick up the gauntlet and forge a workable university-industry relationship with the NNPC, especially in the areas of ongoing oil exploration in the in-land sedimentary basin.
Ibrahim noted that the proximity of ATBU to the Chad and Gongola basins offered it immense advantage over other institutions in this regard.