The University of Nigeria, Nsukka’s Lion Science Park was recently inducted into the membership of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP). This took place at the 35th edition of the World conference on science parks and areas of innovation held at the Istafan Science and Technology Town (ISTT) in Instafan, Iran. The ISTT was established 20 years ago and won the bid to host this year’s conference.
The IASP is a global body that links science and technology parks (STP) and areas of innovation (AoI) around the world. It has its headquarters in Malaga, Spain. Every year, IASP holds conferences which bring together science parks from around the world to share knowledge on developments in technology, science, and innovation best practices and case studies. Key activities at the conferences include facilitating technology transfers, matchmaking, B2B meetings, and networking sessions.
Along with the Lion Science Park of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 20 other members from various continents of the world were inducted into the IASP, bringing the total membership count to 386. The certificate of membership was presented by the body’s president Josep Miquel Pique at the dinner held at the Chehel Sotoun Palace in Istafan.
Vice Chancellor of UNN, Professor Benjamin Ozumba, had this to say about what the induction means for the university and the way forward “…with lessons learnt from this, plans and execution will be a lot easier now. More than 215 Research groups in the University are ready to deliver impactful research solutions to companies. We have started; we currently have a temporary building and planning to develop the 50 hectares of land for the permanent site of the Lion Science Park.”
Director of International Collaborations at the University, Professor Kenneth Ofokansi, also contributed that “…the Lion Science Park will encourage regional, national and international scientific research and development (R&D) initiatives, creating strategic synergies with private, public, and institutional research institutes/centers seeking to optimize their R&D activities by collaborating with researchers, research groups and research institutes in the university.”
On job creation, Professor Ofokansi noted that “when completed, the Park will provide graduates with direct and unhindered access to specialized innovative infrastructure of the highest standard, exposing them to an outstanding training opportunity for applied scientific innovation and entrepreneurial skills. Lion Science Park already has tenant companies such as Huawei Technologies, Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy (HAINA) and Mirai Denchi. HAINA trains candidates on Huawei Technologies and in a few weeks’ time, certified students from the university will travel on an all-expense paid trip to China for more studies.”
The Park’s Manager, Chinwe Okoli, said that with the knowledge acquired from the conference, the Park can achieve efficiency by avoiding “certain procedures or models that may not work.” She believes that “it is time to sensitize and engage more companies in Nigeria to connect with the Lion Science Park and both parties reap full benefits such synergy offers.”