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ICTP in Nigeria

Delegation offers science and technology advice to National Assembly

ICTP's long experience with science and technology for developing countries took centre stage at an awareness workshop hosted by the National Assembly of Nigeria. The country had invited an ICTP delegation to inform Parliamentarians of trends in science and technology, in an effort to strengthen Nigeria's capacity in these areas and to provide the background needed to formulate science and technology policies.

At the two-day event, held in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, ICTP scientists representing several areas of physics, mathematics and technology spoke on themes ranging from science policy to climate change. ICTP Director Fernando Quevedo initiated the first day of discussions with a talk on "Creating World Class Scientific Institutions and Centres of Excellence". He was followed by several members of ICTP's scientific staff, including Matteo Marsili and Sandro Scandolo of the Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics section, Filippo Giorgi of the Earth System Physics section, Sandro Radicella of the Aeronomy and Radiopropagation section, and former Mathematics section researcher Charles Chidume, who is currently acting president of The African University of Science and Technology (AUST), all of whom spoke of their research in terms of its importance to development.  Clement Onime of ICTP's Information and Communication Technology section spoke of high performance cluster computing.

"ICTP's core missions is to foster the growth of physics and mathematics in developing countries, and we are pleased to be able to share our experience with Nigeria, a country eager to develop its capacity in these areas as well as in technology," said Director Quevedo.

ICTP and Nigeria have a number of collaborative programmes already in place, such as a PhD programme in mathematics at the University of Nigeria, a planned MSc programme in high performance computing at AUST, and an agreement with the National Universities Commission of Nigeria to develop scientific capacity in Nigerian universities. In 2009, 92 scientists from Nigeria visited ICTP in Trieste for research and training opportunities.

Key recommendations emerging from the awareness workshop included that Nigeria provide adequate funding of scientific research, improvement of education at all levels and substantial support to universities for basic science and engineering, and that centres of excellence be created to promote and enhance research in science and technology and to contain brain drain.

ICTP and Nigeria pledged to continue the awareness workshops as a way to deepen the awareness of science and technology among Nigerian parliamentarians. A formal agreement to this effect will be signed at a ceremony in Trieste in June.

(Note: see related story, "High-tech Help")


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