By Adedapo Adesanya
The governing council of the country’s local content agency, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has approved $50 million to boost research in the oil and gas sector.
It was stated that the money would be used for the establishment of research and development of Nigerian Content Research and Development Fund (NCR&DF).
According to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, the NCDMB Governing Council at a meeting held in June approved the deployment of $50 million Research Fund for sustainable funding of NCDMB’s mandate on Research & Development as enshrined in Sections 37 to 39 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010, which empowers NCDMB to superintend over R&D activities in the oil and gas industry.
The board will be implementing the Research and Development Roadmap to institutionalize a better R&D ecosystem that will lead to the continuous development of technology, materials and process for industry application from indigenous research efforts.
According to the minister, a major success will involve closing any systemic weakness caused by inadequate funding architecture for R&D activities in the oil and gas industry.
It was revealed that Nigeria spends about 0.2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on R&D and this indicates a poor commitment to R&D, resulting in over-dependence on foreign technology for critical economic development activities, including oil and gas operations.
Now with the NCDMB R & D Fund, there are expectations to close this gap which will be applied in four broad Intervention areas, namely -Research (basic and applied), the establishment of Centers of Excellence in Academic and Research Institutes, Sponsorship of commercialization of Research and Sponsorship of endowment of professorial chair.
The operating model has been designed to ensure transparent and well-focused application of the fund and it includes a governance structure to leverage experienced researchers and industry experts in the decision-making process of selecting activities to be funded from the NCDMB R&D Fund. The fund will be domiciled in a TSA Sub-Account in CBN.
The NCDMB will put in place an outcome-focused performance metrics that will measure success in the application of the Fund and form part of the reporting template to the Governing Council on an ongoing basis
Following the governing council approval, the Nigerian Content Research and Development Council (NCRDC) also decided that the Fund would also be deployed in developing and implementing a communication strategy for effective dissemination of NCDMB R&D interventions as part of the stakeholder management process.
The NCRDC further approved the institution of a performance management strategy to track progress and ensure the application of the R&D fund in line with the key performance indicators (KPI) approved by the Governance Council.
It also approved the list for distribution of the smart gas leak and smoke detector alarm device for field trial. The product which was conceptualised by Amal Technologies is a research prototype sponsored by NCDMB.
The scope of NCDMB’s R&D regulatory role includes the development of capabilities for Research and Innovation in Nigeria including facilities, equipment, personnel and processes, review and approve R&D plans of operating companies, monitor implementation of R&D projects to ensure the execution of Nigerian content requirements of domiciliation within Nigerian R&D Centers.
Other roles include tying R&D spend to addressing industry technology, material, and process challenges and facilitating commercialization of research breakthroughs and Facilitating the deployment of successful products of research in industry Operations.
To achieve its R&D mandate NCDMB developed the R&D framework anchored on seven (7) policy thrust, including focus on market-driven research, establishment of world-class Research and Development (R&D) Centers of Excellence, the establishment of Research and Development Council and provision of sustainable funding to support Research and Development.
Other areas of focus include the development of stakeholder collaboration matrix for Research and Development (R&D), provision of enablers for commercialization of research breakthrough and facilitation of acceptance and utilization of products of research by end users.
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