ANALYSIS: Stimulating advancement in science and technology through Nigeria Prize for Science

For the past 20 years, the Nigeria LNG (NLNG) Ltd. has piloted practical scientific approach to solving Nigeria’s problems through sponsorship of the Nigeria Prize for Science.

The prize celebrates excellence in scientific breakthroughs and honours scientists who help to find solutions to Nigeria’s problems.

The annual award is aimed at stimulating advancement and application of science and technology in Nigeria.

The prize is administered on behalf of NLNG by the Advisory Board for Science.

It is expected that the quest for the prestigious prize will improve application of science and technology in Nigeria, resolve issues that are germane to development of the country and help to improve standard of living.

Winners have been emerging in the annual competition, taking home whopping sum of $100,000 dollars, which can be won as an individual or a team.

Analysts have adjudged the competition transparent, consistent and successful so far.

Recently, a total of 153 entries was handed over to the Advisory Boar
d for Science in Lagos, after the April 30 deadline for submission of entries for the 2024 edition.

The award is open to scientists and innovators worldwide (Nigerians and non-Nigerians) involved in the application of science to proffer innovation and technologies for reducing the effects of climate change.

The theme is ‘ Innovations and Technologies for Reducing the Effects of Climate Change’.

According to Mr Andy Odey, the NLNG General Manager of External Relations and Sustainable Development, a total of 153 entries for the Nigeria Prize of Science 2024 was submitted.

He says the entries have been handed over to the Advisory Board for Science.

The 153 entries show 53 per cent increase over those of 2023.

‘This is the highest number of submissions in the life of the Nigeria Prize for Science.

‘It shows that scientists’ interests in the prize have doubled,’ he says.

Odey emphasises that any winning entry must have a solution to a problem in Nigeria.

‘No matter who or where the entry is coming from –
an individual or a team within or outside the country – the entry must have a solution,’ he says.

Odey believes that the theme of the 2024 edition underscores the critical importance of combating climate change, not only for Nigeria’s future, but also for the survival of humanity.

‘It will be of unquantifiable value as climate change arising from green gas emission remains a major setback to the development of humans,’ he says.

The Chairman of the Advisory Board for Science, Prof. Barth Nnaji, who received the entries for the 2024 competition, says they will be handed over to judges who have been carefully selected to do justice.

He also emphasises that the winning entry must demonstrate capacity to solve Nigeria’s problem.

‘The transparency in handling the prize has given scientists, worldwide, the zeal to submit their works,’ he says.

Nnaji says the winning entry is not expected to be a good research project.

‘A good research project? No. It is an innovation that has already demonstrated impact.

ientist(s) would have shown in the public, how the product or process or innovation has been able to work in the lives of people,’ he says.

Dr Nike Akande, Nigeria’s former Minister of Industries, is convinced that through the competition NLNG has been touching lives in various ways.

According to Akande, the winning prize relates with the business world through Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) to ensure that there is mass production for it to get to the areas it is needed most.

‘The 2023 winning prize, a small-sized incubator for babies, is aiding babies’ survival in hospitals, especially in teaching hospitals,’ she notes.

A Professor of Medical Engineering and Technology, Hippolite Amadi, emerged the winner of the 2023 edition with his scientific work on low-cost respiratory technologies that keep neonates alive.

The innovation comprises a non-invasive neonatal ventilator, an oxygen delivery blender
system, and an oxygen splitter system, all powered by solar energy.

In 2022, two scientific works won the prize.

Two most outstanding works on ‘Gains in Grain Yield of Released Maize (Zea Mays L.) Cultivars under Drought and Well-Watered Conditions’ by Muhydideen Oyekunle and Shehu Ado; and ‘Development of Process Plant for Plantain Flour’ by Sesan Ayodeji and Emmanuel Olatomilola won the $100,000 prize money.

The 2020 and 2021 cycles ended without winners.

In 2019, Prof. Mehong and Dr Matthew Aneke, emerged winners with their entry: ‘Carbon Capture, Carbon Utilisation, and Biomass Gasification and Energy Storage for Power Generation’.

In 2018, Peter Ngene emerged the winner with his entry: ‘Nanostructured Metal Hydrides for the Storage of Electrical Power from Renewable Energy Sources and for Explosion Prevention in High Voltage Power Transformers’.

According to Prof. Yusuf Abubakar, also a member of the Advisory Board of Nigeria Prize for Science, through the competition, NLNG is rewarding research ef
forts and innovativeness.

‘The bane of research institutes in Nigeria is to market their inventions.

‘NLNG is linking research with the industry.

‘It is left for government to fund research and innovations adequately,’ Abubakar, a former Executive Secretary of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, says.

He strongly believes that the focus of the 2024 competition on climate change is commendable.

Abubakar is a professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics and the Coordinator of Agricultural Group, R and D Standing Committee, Tertiary Education Trust Fund.

It is expected that in September, when the winning entry for the 2024 edition will be announced, Nigerians will be presented with an innovation that is clearly aiding in reducing effects of climate change.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria