By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo

A researcher, Dr Maruf Sanni, of the National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), an Agency of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, has won a research grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).

The research and innovation programme is called Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships. The title of the project is ECO-innovation and the Dynamics of External Knowledge Sourcing (ECO-DEKS). The overall objective of ECO-DEKS is to examine the dynamics of alliance portfolio for eco-innovation in the manufacturing and service sectors of Nigeria. The project is hosted by one of the top-rated Research Think Thanks on Climate Change in Europe, the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE), Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), Milan, Italy.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with the European Union funding for Research and Innovation, RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE) and the National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM). However, the main funder for ECO-DEKS project is the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions. The project is supervised by Elena Verdolini, a Senior Scientist at EIEE and Professor in Political Economy at the Law Department, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Italy.

As part of the communication, dissemination & outreach activities of the ECO-DEKS project, the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow, Dr. Maruf Sanni, who is also an Assistant Director of Research at NACETEM organized a seminar and a training workshop on Tuesday, 10th November, 2020 to share more information about ECO-DEKS project and train members of the academic community on how to apply for similar research programmes under Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

The workshop which took place at the Seminar Room A of NACETEM focused essentially on ‘External Knowledge Sourcing Strategies for Environmental Innovation in the Industrial Sector of Nigeria’ and ‘Basic Principles of Writing Grant Proposals’. While Dr. Sanni was presenting on the topic ‘External Knowledge Sourcing Strategies for Environmental Innovation in the Industrial Sector of Nigeria’, he said that “most of the companies in Nigeria still run their plants on diesel fuel which has a lot of implications for climate change and the health of the citizens”. He then submitted that “eco-innovation can help decarbonize the global production value chain and chart sustainable pathways”.

The session that was anchored by the principal investigator, Dr. Maruf Sanni , discussed one of the deliverables of ECO-DEKS, a manuscript that examined the Open Eco-Innovation Research Landscape in the Industrial Sector. In the presentation, he said the paper assessed the growth trajectory of open eco-innovation globally and searched for emerging research themes from open eco-innovation using bibliometric analysis. The article, according to Dr. Sanni, found that researchers from the developing countries are under-represented on open eco-innovation at the global scale.

In another stimulating presentation on ‘Basic Principles of Writing Grant Proposals’ delivered by Dr. Abiodun Egbetokun, an Assistant Director, Research at NACETEM, he said that “the determinants of funding success include but not limited to scientific merit of proposals, fit of proposed research to mission/needs of funders, composition of team members, among others”. He then gave three golden rules of applying for grants as ‘having a good research idea, starting proposal early and having a very sound methodology’. The principal investigator, Dr. Sanni, added to the submissions of the presenter by discussing how to apply and write proposal for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions research projects. He gave the overview of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and stated the eligibility and criteria for assessing proposals for individual fellowships under Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions. A lot of participants expressed interest in the MSCA programme as an individual and as an institution.

The workshop, formally opened by Dr. Caleb Adelowo, Head, Science, Policy and Innovation Studies Department of NACETEM, had in attendance academics, top researchers from NACETEM and other stakeholders in science, technology and innovation sector. The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow, Dr Sanni, brought the programme to a close by thanking the European Commission for providing the fund, EIEE for hosting the project and NACETEM for providing facility and kind support for ECO-DEKs.