Executive Vice Chairman of Verdant Zeal Group, Dr Tunji Olugbodi, has said bridging the gap between industry and academia is crucial to addressing low productivity and poor economic growth. According to the expert, there exists a very low and slow translation of research work into marketable products. He described the coming together of the two sectors as a fertile ground for innovation.
Olugbodi, an alumnus of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, delivered the institution’s Faculty of Social Sciences Open Lecture on Thursday, November 16, 2023. It had as theme: “Collaborative innovation: bridging the knowledge and research gap between industry and academia”.
He decried the questionable and slow pace of academia-industry collaboration, adding that such partnership is imperative in addressing societal problems and shaping the nation’s future.
The business mogul said it was vital to address challenges facing the academia to boost its relevance and growth.
Olugbodi said the partnership between industry, academia and government is essential for innovation and development, sustainable progress and prosperity.
He said industry-academia relations would effectively tackle real-world problems with fresh perspectives, rigorous research and cutting-edge technology.
“The pharmaceutical industry frequently collaborates with universities to develop new drugs and treatments. Similarly, the renewable energy sector relies on academic research to advance sustainable technologies. These partnerships not only benefit industries by solving critical problems but also contribute to the well-being of society,” he said.
According to Olugbodi investing in beneficial partnerships is a win-win situation for both academia and industry such that the former trains individuals with foundational knowledge, while the latter has the practical experience and real-world insights to absorb them. This, he said, can ensure alignment with labour market needs.
He said industries are crucial to innovation and development through job creation, adding that they stimulate economic stability leading to an enabling environment for innovation and investment in research.
The convener of the famous Innovention Series, a yearly thought leadership foray dedicated to front-lining new development routes for societal progress, urged the country to tap into the productive capacity of its youths for economic advancement.
“The most important weapon for Nigeria’s growth remains its population mined positively. Nigeria has the highest population of youths in the world, with a median age of 18. About 70 percent of the population is under 30 and 42 percent is under 15. Imagine the productive capacity that can be unleashed if well tapped,” he said.
He said through entertainment the nation had earned better global recognition through the combined exploits of hip-hop artists including Davido, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage,among others,than it had received from political leaders since 1999.
Olugbodi stressed the need to nurture and promote academia-industry relationships to ensure a better and more prosperous future for the nation.