Effects of information and communication technology on research and development activities: the FIIRO experience.

Author:Onilude, O.O.
Position:Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi - Report


Advances in the application information and communication technologies (ICTs) have changed the perception, management, and dissemination of information. According to Omina and Ikoja-Odango (2006), ICT has the potential to improve the quality of life by providing new tools for access to information and knowledge management. The widespread availability and convergence of ICTs have led to an unprecedented capacity for dissemination of knowledge and information. The impact is felt in many fields and environments worldwide (Arunachalam, 2002). According to Brun and Mangst (2001), however, the benefits have reached only five percent of the world's population.

In most sub-Saharan Africa countries, research and development activities are scattered. In addition, ICT infrastructure remains inadequate. Issues of connectivity, bandwidth, and non-availability of research materials in electronic form remain paramount in most African countries. According to Okeke (2005), it is practically impossible to expect significant economic and social development without sound research in the field of science and technology.

The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), a parastatal organization under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, was established in 1956 with the mandate to help accelerate the industrialization of Nigerian economy using the country's raw materials and upgrading indigenous production techniques. The establishment of FIIRO in 1956 was based on the recommendation of the economic mission of the World Bank. Its mission is to promote technological activities and industrialization of the national economy through research and development. Its mandates are to conduct research and development up to pilot plant stages on local food stuffs, textiles, pulp and paper, mineral resources, to design and fabricate machinery and equipment required for food processing, and to engage in technological transfer and dissemination of scientific and technological information to users. The Institute operates through six departments: Administration & Supplies, Biotechnology, Chemical, Fiber and Environmental Technology (CFT), Project Design and Development (PDD), Planning, Technology Transfer & Information Management (PTTIM), and Food & Analytical Services.

In 2007, FIIRO, under the aegis of the Computer for All Nigerian's Initiative (CANI), procured computers for staff at affordable rates. This was intended to...

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