The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, has identified collaboration between the academia and oil industry as key to growth and development in the sector.
Baru disclosed this at a convocation lecture at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun, on Friday in Warri, Delta State.
He spoke on the topic: ‘The role of petroleum university in bridging the gap between industry and academia for sustainable growth and economic development.’
“The academia and industry stand a chance of benefiting from one another through all effective collaboration between them that would ease the difficulty of investment in the university research through improving the needed sustainable resources which will ease academia’s reliance on government funding.
“Effective collaboration between the oil and gas industry and universities will be imperative in addressing funding issues associated with low crude oil price or production disruptions which have led to budget cut and downsizing of the number of employees.
“Well designed collaboration is therefore neccessary to speed up economic recovery and competiveness in the industry,” he said.
He noted that the industry must make effort to support higher education by providing the suppport needed to help students build their employability and technical skills.
“On our own part, the NNPC has provided support to the academia under the corporate social responsibility in so many ways.
“These include infrastructure, research and development, human and capacity building,” he said.
He advised the academia not to restrict themselves to asking for funds from stakeholders but to provide advice and reasearch work for the development of the industry.
“In order to boost the growth of the oil and gas industry globally, trained workforce and sustainable strategies are needed.
“This can be realised through conjunction of academic and industrial human rrsources,” he added.
The GMD suggested ways to build sustainable collaboration to include development of enterpreneuriship cells in universities and technology incubation centres.
“Involvement of alumni as mentors for students, setting up venture funds to support innovative enterpreneurship and provision of incentives for research and development,” he said.
He urged the convocating students to ensure effective use of the acquired training in the university for the challenges ahead.
He equally called on relevant stakeholders to support the Nigerian academia by engaging them in meaningful collaboration so as to foster economic growth and national development.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Akii Ibhadode, commended Baru for the excellent work at the NNPC.
The vice-chancellor was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Prof. Tawari Fufeyin.
He said the choice of the topic for lecture was one way for the institution to know the essence of its existence and what was expected of it.
He also noted that the choice of the GMD for the institution’s second convocation lecture was the beginning of the mutual relation between the two organisations.
He urged lecturers as well as the students to pay attention and learn from the lecture for the betterment of the institution.
The Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun was established and approved by the Federal Executive Council on 14 March 2007; the first undergraduates were admitted in 2008. (NAN)