What is the Procedure for the Award of Research Grants (Telecommunications-based Research Innovations Project)?
The Commission publishes Adverts in National Dailies and on her website, requesting Academics in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions to submit Proposals every year. The Adverts include the criteria for Grants. The criteria for the evaluation of the Research submissions include the following:
- The area must fall within the specified areas of research as stated in the Advertorial
- Novelty of research proposal (comprehensive literature review to bring out clearly the novelty of the research).
- Clear statement and explanation of the problem.
- Proposed solution to the problem.
- Proposed approach and methodology.
- Each project including prototype development must be concluded within 2 years.
- The project cost should not exceed a maximum of Grant amount. (The Commission reserves the right to review this maximum amount).
- Any Academic with a yet to be completed Research project with the Commission SHOULD NOT apply.
- Total cost (including all costs) of the project must be clearly stated and broken down in details, for which there can be no variation.
- Proof of concept (feasibility of idea with diagram, algorithm etc.).
- Clear relevance to the telecommunications industry.
- Evidence of local realization up to prototype.
- Cost reasonableness (cost of actualizing the idea including hardware and software requirements but excluding purchase of vehicles, Furniture or Internet data, foreign trips and allowances).
- Schedule of project organization.
- Coherent presentation/packaging of concept. Integration of research with education (capacity building of students via the implementation of the project in the institution).
- Allowance for researchers should not exceed 20% of cost of actually doing the Research.
- Evidence of competence of team in executing the project (include past work and CVs of team members).
What are the Requirements for Grant Application?
Interested Researchers are required to submit their proposals which must:
- Come from teaching Academics in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions; and
- Have an Executive summary of the Research Proposal to include relevance of the research to the telecommunications industry, deliverables, novelty of concept, methodology, team experience, project timeline and detailed cost schedule.
What is the period required to complete the development of Prototypes based on Research Grant?
Two (2) years from the date of Award.
What are the Penalties for failure to comply with Grant Award Terms & Conditions?
Research Grant is awarded to the lead Researcher’s institution for ease of management. Non fulfilment of the terms of Award could warrant a refund of all sums paid by the Commission. Additionally, the Researcher’s Institution will be disqualified from any future Grants, as Researchers from the Institution would not be considered in future Request for Proposals.
What areas of research are acceptable for Telecommunications-based Research Innovation from Academics in Tertiary Institutions?
The Areas of Research will be stated clearly in the Advertorial each year. The Industry is continuously evolving and Research areas are designed to meet current challenges in the sector necessitating the Commission to define the areas of research each year.
How does the Commission intend to facilitate collaborations between Industry and Academia?
The Commission is vested with the mandate via the Research & Development Department to create interactive platforms to engage Industry experts and the Academia on productive discourse around Emerging Technologies. These interactive sessions/Foras include;
- Research and Prototype Exposition - which is a platform to provide interactions between Academia-developed prototypes and funders for commercialization.
- Regional Roundtable with Academia, Industry and other Stakeholders’ Meetings across Six (6) Geopolitical Regions - which is a platform to discuss issues to enhance collaborations between the Academia and Industry.
- Research Fellowship Programme – a platform for a one-year residence programme, providing opportunities to Academics to work full-time in the Industry (Commission) on sabbatical while assisting in critical research activities to enhance our regulatory functions and gaining some “field” experience and also Industry Experts to teach in the Tertiary Institutions.
What does the Commission do to encourage Commercialization of prototypes from the Academia?
Strategies the Commission will undertake include;
- Protection of Intellectual Property (IP) rights: The Commission is collaborating with various Government agencies and extensively educating Researchers that benefitted from Telecoms-based Research Grants about intellectual property and copyright laws. However, the Government agency in charge of granting Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry, is the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
- Creation of Multi- Sectorial Investment Platform: Creation of a Multi-Stakeholder Platform dedicated to showcasing and promoting already awarded Grants on pre-prototype stage and developed prototypes from the Academia. The Research and Prototype Exposition programme organized by the Commission provides a platform for the academia and other developers to pitch their ideas and prototypes to venture capitalists and other investors, commercialization experts, relevant government agencies, operators and vendors in the Communications Industry, to elicit interests.
- Publication of Research Outcomes: The Commission will publish and showcase finished Research Grant projects of the Telecoms Based Research Innovation from Academics in Nigeria Tertiary Institutions in the National Dailies.
I am a Techpreneur. Is there a License for Internet of Things (IOT)?
No, the Commission does not currently licence IOT.
Does the Commission provide funding support for Tech Hubs, if so, how?
No, the Commission as a Government Agency can only provide funding support to public Institutions, and not to private entities. Tech Hub is a private business.
Is there provision for free bandwidth and computing hardware for Tech Hubs?
No, there is no provision for free bandwidth and computing hardware for Tech Hubs. The Commission as a Government Agency can only provide funding support to public Institutions, and not to private entities. A Tech Hub is a private business.
Does NCC have provisions put in place for obtaining legal protection and registration of intellectual property for novel innovations?
No, the Commission doesn’t have any provisions in place for obtaining legal protection and registration of intellectual property for novel innovations. The Commission recommends you contact National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC) or National Board For Technology Incubation (NBTI).
How does the Commission intend to facilitate collaboration between Industry and Tech Hubs/Start Ups?
The Commission does this by holding fora, Hackathons, Innovation Fairs and Competitions which help bring these Stakeholders together, where Industry either participate to give Industry experience; as Panelists; as potential Venture Capitalist/Investors to Innovations from Start Ups, or as Judges during Hackathons.
In the past the Commission has organized innovation Competitions and awarded prizes for Indigenous novel innovations to answer local needs. What are the requirements to enter into any other competitions in the future?
The exact requirements for each specific Competition will be spelt out clearly in the Advertorial detailing. However, the Commission will usually expect any Solutions/Innovations which you wish to showcase, to be an original idea, to be commercially viable and which can proffer solutions to business and societal challenges in Nigeria that the Innovators are resident in Nigeria, and ideally it should be from a Nigerian Start Up.
Does the Commission encourage private sector involvement in the development of Tech entrepreneurship?
Yes. In accordance with the Triple Helix model of Innovations which requires the full and active participation of the Regulator, the Industry and the Academia to achieve sustainable innovations, the Commission actively encourages all private Sector Stakeholders in the Telecoms Sector to actively participate and support the development of Tech entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
How does the Commission encourage Indigenous Content development in the ICT sector?
The Commission encourages Indigenous Content development by hosting Competitions, Hackathons and ICT Innovations Fairs which showcase the best of Innovative solutions in Nigeria, whilst also encouraging private Sector involvement in the uptake and commercialization of such Solutions.
How does the Commission promote Techpreneurship?
The Commission promotes National Techpreneurship by organizing Competitions and Hackathons to encourage local development of indigenous solutions to national needs.
What is the process of procuring Research Consultancy Services?
The process involves responding to the publish Advertorial posted by the Commission on national dailies. Ensure your submission meets the minimum requirements and expression of interest listed. The process undergoes a thorough procurement process in line the Federal Government Procurement Act.