UNN students get N12 million research grants

The Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Power and Energy Development (ACE-SPED) University of Nigeria, has awarded seed research grants valued at N12 million to twelve student groups.

The students, it was learned, demonstrated innovative and entrepreneurial ideas that will lead to sustainable energy and power development. 

The research groups received N1 million each to develop samples of their ideas within a period of six months.

Among the standout projects selected for funding are initiatives like the creation of both fixed and mobile solar power stations tailored for shops and events, the development of a hydro-thermal generator pressure varying (HTPV-G) system, and the mass production and distribution of a hand-held watermelon ripeness detector to aid Nigerian farmers. 

Other notable projects include the design of portable solar generators and the production of bioethanol from agro-waste.

Speaking at the grant award ceremony, the Director of ACE-SPED, Professor Emenike Ejiogu said that the grant was part of ACE-SPED’s mandate which aims to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and technology transfer in the area of sustainable energy and power development.

He emphasized that the grants represent the initial phase in a journey toward the realization and commercialization of innovative ideas, aimed at addressing societal needs while elevating the University of Nigeria and the students involved in the projects.

“We have provided you with seed funding; now demonstrate your potential”, Prof. Ejiogu stated, highlighting ACE-SPED’s readiness to engage its industrial partners to facilitate the commercialization of the ideas.

He revealed that the selection process was rigorous, with over 30 applications received from diverse student research and innovation groups. The 12 chosen groups, comprising students from various departments and academic levels, were deemed to possess the greatest potential for impact and success.

Prof. Ejiogu, who also serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nigeria, urged both government and private sector stakeholders to prioritize investment in research and innovation within higher education institutions, because of their pivotal role in driving Nigeria’s economic development.

“At ACE-SPED, we ensure that the outputs of our research efforts do not languish on shelves. We conduct practical research aimed at providing indigenous solutions to the power and energy challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa”, he affirmed.

He further explained that the ACE-SPED currently offers Master’s and Doctoral degrees in eight NUC-accredited programmes namely: renewable and new energy systems; Power engineering; sustainable energy materials engineering; industrial electronics and power devices; control and instrumentation engineering; policy regulation and management; engineering design and product development; Management of Technology and Innovation, (MOTI), and a professional diploma in additive manufacturing (3-D Printing) technology.

Established in 2019 with support from the World Bank and the AFD, ACE-SPED is entrusted with the mandate of nurturing a cadre of highly skilled professionals poised to revolutionize the energy and power development landscape across sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, the Centre boasts an enrollment of over 250 students, with more than 35 hailing from various African nations, underscoring its regional significance and impact.


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