Team work and effective collaboration among lecturers and researchers have been identified as the main factors that can contribute to scholarly relevance and high impact publications among Nigerian academics.
A Professor of Mechatronics Engineering at Federal University of Technology, Mina, Abiodun Aibinu, gave this hint in a chat he had with Abba Shitta reportorial crew recently.
Responding to the factors that contributed to the depth and length of his publications, he gave credit to team work among fellow lecturers and researchers, supervising, collaborating and co-operating with all other researchers as well as the outcomes of projects by his students at both undergraduate and post graduate levels.
The Google Scholar also acknowledged the importance of grants in moving far as an academic:
“And the third thing that really assisted us is access to REVERSED TREND. In Nigeria, a developing country despite our challenges, we have been having funding left and right. It is assisting us in the publication because part of your KPI will include publicatio.”
As a Google Scholar, the Professor equally highlighted some of the importance of concerted efforts by researchers,”Let me say one thing about our work and academia: we are not expected to work in silence or in the comfort of our home. We are expected to collaborate. Our work is actually divided into three parts. The first part is knowledge generation, the second one is knowledge dissemination and the third one is knowledge application.”
According to him, a researcher who wants to get grants must be ready to be innovative, have a functional research group and contribute to contemporary scholarly discussion. He shared the approach he once used to get grants:
“But the first thing we did for the first three years upon my return is to do what we call “we can do it”. “We can do it” simply means that let’s show stakeholders that all these things they are talking about, we have capabilities in Nigeria to do it. So, most of the works that we handled were more or less free of charge. So that’s around 2012 to 2014. But from 2015 to around 2017, we did what is called “The power of small money”. So “The power of small money” means that we are not going to ask you for a big sum of money like 5million, 7 million, jut give us like 500,000, one million on this work, let’s show you that we can use this money to achieve this objectives. When we did that, you will be convinced and you will trust us with bigger amount of money. So, that was the era of “the power of small money”. From 2017 to around 2020, we now entered the era that you call “Connecting the dots” and market survey. “Connecting the dots’’ means that yes, we have shown our capability by not asking or anything in the first phase, then we entered the second phase which is just give us small money. Then in the third phase now, we are now trying to tell you that having proven ourselves now, then you may be able to trust us that we can do this thing and that is what we call connecting the dots,”
In the effort to ensure adequate training to prepare students for postgraduate education, the Professor who bagged his Masters degree and Ph.D in Sweden and Malaysia respectively, opined,
“We need to go back to undergraduate training because the work force, those who will be coming back to postgraduate, we need to look back at them.”
He further disclosed how Acadopreneurship, a process of turning academic into business, is currently helping students. It’s a programme that’s aimed at strengthening the relationship among the academia, the regulator, the industry and the community. In this programme, there is industrial immersion where students are exposed to the skills of industry during their undergraduate studies.
” One is that apart from the theory now, it now shows that undergraduates have had needed skill and the required skills for the industry and those ones having the skills again will assist in understanding the theory and will assist them in lab work and the rest so that when they come for postgraduate, it will assist them a lot. That is one, number two is that after the immersion, your final year project now is not just a project. It is more or less you are trying to make a product further. So that is another thing we are looking at here. So that one now prepare them psychologically for the industry and at the same time, improve your skill for postgraduate level of education aside the laboratory practicals that they may have learnt, ” he added.
Proferring solutions to the problem of unemployment in Nigeria, he argued that there is nothing wrong with the Nigerian curriculum; it is the approach used to teach the curriculum that needs to be checked. Professor Aibinu explained the use of spiritual technique in solving everyday problem. Spiritual intelligence is to follow the principles of one’s religion, creating one’s philosophy within it and solving societal problems with its principles.
Professor Abiodun Aibinu is the present Coordinator for Advanced Engineering Innovation Recycle. His major focus is on Artificial Intelligence, Digital Signal Processing, Digital Space Processing and Robotic and Automation. He is also one of the recipients of Nigerian Air force Researcher Award 2017, Lagos State Governor’ s Award in 2002, and 2010 Education Award at International Islamic University, Malaysia. He has participated and won several medals and awards as well as visiting research exhibitions.