NCC begins move to replace foreign technologies, end capital flight

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has taken another step to save the country billions of dollars spent on foreign technologies with a proposal to tertiary institutions to develop indigenous technologies that would end capital flight.

The regulator of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria is supporting amongst other things, telecommunications-based innovations and research from tertiary institutions in the country that are practical, locally realisable and have clear potential of developing the telecommunications industry.

The Commission in a ‘Request for Proposal (RFP) Telecommunications- Based Research Innovation from Academics in Nigeria Tertiary Institutions – 2020’ published on its website invites proposals from academics in tertiary institutions that have feasible research ideas, capable of replacing or enhancing foreign technologies in the telecommunications in Nigeria.

The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof Umar Danbatta envisages that the initiative will help build capacity in the tertiary institutions and promote Nigeria’s contribution to the pool of technologies in use in the communications industry.

According to the Commission, areas of research include: Innovative clean energy Technology; 5G deployment in Nigeria; IoT Low Power Wide Area Network (WAN) Technology; Advanced method of Quality of Service (QoS)/Quality of Experience Management and test mechanism; and Monitoring and localisation of drones.

The NCC said interested researchers are required to submit their proposals which must: Come from teaching Academics in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions; and
Have a one-page 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.
The criteria for the evaluation of the research submissions include the following:
• The area must fall within the specified areas of research; Adherence of proposal to stated requirements above; Novelty of research proposal (comprehensive literature review to bring out clearly the novelty of the research).

Others are: Clear statement and explanation of the problem; Proposed solution to the problem; and Proposed approach and methodology. Each project including prototype development must be concluded within 2 years.
The NCC stated that the project cost should not exceed a maximum of N12 million naira only, adding that it reserves the right to review this maximum amount. It however, warned that any academic with a yet to be completed research project with the Commission should not apply.

Also, 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; and Evidence of local realization up to prototype.

The NCC further stated that: 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 must be stated.

In addition it stated that 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 per cent of cost of actually doing the research while Evidence of competence of team in executing the project (include past work and CVs of team members) should be included.

The NCC noted that submission of the proposal will undergo preliminary assessment. “The proposals that are adjudged promising and capable of developing the Telecommunications industry will be further evaluated by another level of assessors.

“Sponsors/authors of research submissions may be invited for defence of their proposals before a decision is taken on whether the Commission will fund their project(s) or not. Those with existing research grand are not qualified to apply for this.

“Interested researchers are invited to submit both soft and hard copies and CDs of their research proposals on or before 8 September 2020 to the address below. Please note that any proposal submitted after the deadline will be rejected automatically.”

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