The Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU) Ile-Ife, Osun State, has set up an $8 million World Bank-assisted information and communication technology (ICT) driven-knowledge park, tagged African Centre of Excellence ( OAU ACE).
This is even as the institution is calling for more participation from the private and public sector to tap into the potential of the ICT park.
According to the pro-chancellor and the chairman of the university council, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, a one-day academia-industry engagement held in Lagos, with the theme “Rethinking Academia-Industry Engagement,” OAU was ready to create a platform where the university and the industries can jointly identify challenges facing the country and provide solutions through well-grounded research.
He said the OAU ACE is one of the 16 centres in Africa supported by the World Bank as ICT parks to nurture innovation for jobs and wealth creation on the continent.
Ogunbiyi stated that park is being positioned as a recognised model ICT park and hub in the West African sub-region, linking academia and industry to proffer solutions to local problems.
He said, “The intent here is that such solutions be innovative and commercialised. It is our desire, therefore, that companies can take up structures or space in the park, creating proximity to the university’s intellectual infrastructure of our faculty and the reservoir of knowledge resident within our active student population.”
Similarly, Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, president, Nigeria Computer Society, said that the park would provide a launch pad for start-up companies borne out of the university’s research activities and collaboration with ICT companies, who would have the competitive advantage of proximity and direct access to the intellectual infrastructure and output of the university.
He noted that the park aims to create a regionally-recognised model driven by hig-quality postgraduate education for uptake and commercialization of research and technology to advance the growth of the ICT industry.