'People, talent and ideas': Partnership to build research and academic connections in Nigeria

Feb 18th, 2020

By Jeff Green

Seated from left are Yvonne Uche Odu-Thomas; Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna; and President Kachanoski. Standing from left are Drs. Faisal Khan and Neil Bose. Photo by Rich Blenkinsopp.
'People, talent and ideas': Partnership to build research and academic connections in Nigeria

A new agreement will see Memorial increase its research collaborations and attract more high-quality graduate students from West Africa.

Memorial signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nigeria’s National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) on Feb. 13. Established in 1992, NASENI’s mandate includes areas such as research, production and reverse engineering.

The two institutions agreed to work together to explore common research and academic activities.

Those activities include exchange of faculty members; undergraduate and graduate student mobility; exchange of publications, research materials, newsletters, etc; joint projects related to research, teaching and faculty development; development of joint initiatives with partner institutions, including joint or collaborative degree programs; and opportunities for full-degree fee paying undergraduate/graduate study.

‘Destination of choice’

“Through this new partnership, Memorial is seeking ways to enhance research collaborations in key areas such as engineering, technologies and related fields,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“Increasing Memorial’s international profile as a destination of choice for research and training opportunities is a top priority for our university; we aim to do this in partnership with our international partners in ways that benefit both of our countries and organizations. We look forward to working with NASENI in the years to come.”

Comprehensive visit

During their visit, officials from NASENI met with President Gary Kachanoski; Dr. Bose; Dr. Aimée Surprenant, associate vice-president (academic) and dean of graduate studies; Dr. Greg Naterer, dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; and Dr. Faisal Khan, Canada Research Chair in Offshore Safety and Risk Engineering.

“The partnership with NASENI will enable us to access experienced highly motivated scholars who are keen to learn and make a meaningful contribution,” said Dr. Khan. “Through this partnership, Memorial will play a key role in innovation and technology development in Nigeria. We already have had a NASENI member join the Centre for Risk, Integrity, and Safety Engineering team at Memorial, with two more in consideration.”

The delegates also met Andrew Kim, director, graduate enrolment services, School of Graduate Studies, and Jinghua Nie, manager, international programs, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

“Student mobility, both inbound and outbound, is a key part of this partnership,” noted Dr. Surprenant. “The cross-fertilization of people, talent and ideas holds the promise of enriching and enhancing the research and innovation on both sides of the equation. This is an excellent opportunity for students from both Nigeria and Newfoundland and Labrador to work on joint research projects and to benefit from different ways of knowing and learning.”

In addition to signing the MOU, the delegates also attended a presentation in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and toured research facilities on the St. John’s campus.

The delegation from NASENI included Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, the executive vice-chairman/chief executive of NASENI and Yvonne Uche Odu-Thomas, director, legal department, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

Last summer, Dr. Bose, Dr. Khan and Ms. Nie visited parts of West Africa, including NASENI, to promote Memorial’s research activities and graduate programs.

Jeff Green is a senior communications advisor with the Office of the Vice-President (Research). He can be reached at jeffg@mun.ca.