The establishment of Advanced Aerospace Composite Laboratory and other laboratories of the National Space Research and Development Agency by the Federal Government is geared towards the attainment of capabilities in composite Research and development to harness the enormous potential of technological resources for sustainable development of the nation.
This was made known recently in Ilorin by the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation Mrs Monilola Udoh through her representative at the opening ceremony of a two day National Composites Stakeholder’ Workshop themed Effective Applications of Composites in Aerospace and Allied Industries in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary who commended the Space Agency on its numerous achievements in composite research and development which has culminated in hosting the first edition of the composite workshop pointed out that there is no better time than now for the nation to consider research and innovation as frontier of development in all spheres of life.
According to her, research and development have continued to sustain human existence of which composite research materials which has large scale applications in civil, medical, marine, defence, satellite development, rockery and commercial aerospace industry form a major part.
She explained that the advantages of composites which include its lightweight, aesthetics, flexibility and strength makes an alternative to steel as its adaptability to any weather conditions and its non-corrosive nature are added advantage.
The Permanent Secretary highlighted the importance of the workshop and called on participants to engage in robust discussions that will develop a strategic plan and framework for composite parts manufacturing in line with global best practice for economic benefit of the country.
Mrs Udoh therefore assured the stakeholders of immense support and necessary approval of decisions reached that will benefit both government and private sector.
The Chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin Prof Sulayman Age while delivering his speech said although in time past the nation’s focus has been on importation of services that have had negative impact on the economy but the workshop according to him is an opportunity to harness the potentials in composites by focusing on strengthening capacities, improve on methodologies as well as ensure that the goals on composites development and applications are achieved.
He said the local content development policy of government would stem importations and develop local content in technological innovations for improvement and sustainability of the nation’s economy.
The Vice Chancellor urged participants to exchange experiences and insights that would successfully set the pace by not only thinking of what is presently being done in the sector, but on how to profer solutions on the way forward.
In his opening remarks, the Director-General of the National Space and Development Agency, Dr Halilu Shaba described the workshop as timely and would readily address the critical area of creating a composite professional body that will adequately cater for policy development needs of composites aerospace and allied products in Nigeria.
This according to him will aid in the realization of the 2030 sustainable development goals.
The NASRDA boss said composite research is not new but the realization of its capabilities is infantile both to the academia and private sector as the Space Agency is prepared to bring the world to Nigeria in view of the peculiarity of natural fibre in the country.
According to him, composite has a wide range of application as it is an alternative to metal alloys, and other engineering materials due to its light weight, anti-corrosive nature, stiffness and improved toughness.
Dr Shaba also said along with being light weight composite materials are cost effective with immense potential areas of collaboration in aerospace, unmanned aerial drones, allied industries, transportation and lots more.
He explained that the participants invited are like-minds and stakeholders to champion a common front for the actualization of a composite development professional body in Nigeria.
Dr Shaba assured that the agency will reach out to new partners both home and abroad and re-engage retired experts in the composite research and development to innovate and build trust across the special sector.
The coordinator of the Advanced Space Composite Laboratory of the Agency, Dr Kayode Odimayomi said the laboratory is set to bring together Universitites, polytechnics and the private developers to form a national body that will pursue the processes in a bid to taking Nigeria from being an engineering or technology consumer to a key player development production of composite materials for aerospace, automobile, marine, biomedical and across construction.
He said although composite research and development have been domiciled in the academia but recently the private sector delved into it making waves especially in areas of automobile and aircraft segment.
Dr Odimayomi however said that the academia, private sectors and investors can always consult with the university, Polytechnics, private sector or government through the space Agency to ensure that composites are put together to develop from experimental level down to production level.
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