From Federal Polytechnic, Orogun
I vividly remember the day I received the email, informing me of my nomination for the Research for Impact (R4i). It was a moment of excitement and anticipation, as I had never heard of R4i before. What truly ignited my enthusiasm was the promise of gaining insight into problem-solving, innovative research and development processes. I saw R4i as the key to satisfying my thirst for improving my research capabilities. I couldn’t wait to embark on the journey.
At the inspiring opening event, the purpose behind introducing the experts to us initially puzzled me, as I wondered about their roles in a research-based initiative. However, everything became clear as we embarked on an impressive tour of Innov8 Hub. It dawned on me that these Innov8 Hub experts would collaborate with us to develop our projects. The prospect of working closely with them and witnessing the intricate fabrication processes filled me with exhilaration.
The Hub’s facility is a marvel. Each Impact Lab is impeccably equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and I couldn’t help but notice the youthfulness and vibrancy of the experts. Witnessing young individuals operating sophisticated tools was eye-opening, especially in a country where most youths feel opportunities are scarce. The numerous prototypes of innovations developed at the Hub to enhance the lives of Nigerians, such as the E-Cube Solar Smart Village for remote medical consultations, education, water purification, farm irrigation and agri-tech left a profound impression on me.
My R4i experience at Innov8 Hub was transformative. The capacity-building on research commercialisation shattered my preconceived notion that research was solely about writing and publications. I learnt that research should bring financial value and contribute to making the world a better place. The classes on Emotional Intelligence helped me identify my weaknesses and provided insights on how to enhance my interpersonal relationships. As an academic with limited knowledge of business, I am immensely grateful for the capacity-building on entrepreneurship and intellectual property acquisition. Interactions with my fellow R4i participants exposed me to areas where I needed to grow. I realised these were seasoned professionals, with wealth of knowledge, experience and resources I could tap into. To my delight, they were more than willing to share their insights and expertise. This fostered a sense of meaningful co-working and networking.
In conclusion, R4i has been a remarkable journey, surpassing my wildest expectations. It has opened my eyes to a world of opportunities and instilled in me the belief that I can achieve amazing things from the academia, through research. As I return home and to my duty post, I will carry with me a newfound sense of self-worth. I will also have a burning desire to contribute to positive change in the world and National Development in Nigeria. When I get back to my institution, I will definitely influence my students and colleagues on how to effectively carry out research by identifying problems and opportunities that will lead to innovative solutions.