FUTA Overview

Participants Chart Path to Cutting Edge Research at FUTA Laboratory’s International Seminar

Functional laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art facilities are essential to the performance of globally relevant research activities which lead to findings that proffer solutions to the needs of the society. This is one of the major positions and takeaways from the 1st annual research seminar of the Central Research Laboratory, CRL of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA. The seminar with the theme, “Equipping Researchers and Technologists for Global Competitiveness” was organized in collaboration with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan held on Wednesday, 24th January, 2024. The first presentation on “Microbial Engineering for Environmental Sustainability and Improved Bioenergy” was delivered by Group Leader, Microbial Engineering Group, ICGEB Dr. Syed Shams Yazdani. He told participants that research must be developed and tailored to meet the needs of the society and aid productivity of industries. He pointed out that meeting specific industrial needs is crucial to building collaboration with industries and receiving funding from them. He illustrated this through his presentation on bioenergy research which had been supported continuously by the government of India and some Industries in India. He described how his research group had contributed to biofuel production using engineered fungi to produce novel and hyperactive enzymes cellulases and xylanases for optimized degradation of agricultural wastes. He explained the need for reproducible, consistent, and progressive research. The role of PhD students who were FUTA graduates in his research over the years was prominent during the presentation by Dr Yazdani.

He praised the quality of products of FUTA describing them as well grounded in their field of study. He implored participants to explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration. Mr. Sunday Ebere ,Logistics Officer , International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan while speaking on “Managing the Life Cycle of Laboratory Equipment for Quality Research: Procurement, Operation, Maintenance, and Disposal” addressed all the five phases of equipment life cycle which must be understood by Technologists and Researchers to ensure longevity of equipment and aid reproducibility of research results. He explained that Equipment Procurement, Installation, Maintenance, Upgrades and Replacements, and Disposal should only be done after due attention to “equipment specifications during the procurement process as it determines the relevance of the equipment to the laboratory.” He also pointed out that the importance of manuals, training on operation and maintenance of equipment, and adherence to safety precautions set by manufacturers as critical considerations. He also highlighted the importance of due processes and safety precautions in the disposal of expired or obsolete equipment, and end-of-life of equipment. In her address, Director, Central Research Laboratory, FUTA, Professor Folasade Olajuyigbe noted that global competitiveness relies heavily on innovation and technological advancement. According to her, “research and technology are critical drivers of economic growth. Countries with strong research and technological base are better positioned to attract investments, create high-value jobs, and build sustainable industries.”

Prof. Olajuyigbe thanked the Vice Chancellor and Management for supporting the programme in different capacities. She expressed deep gratitude to the sponsors, FEMIMAT Nigeria Limited, Serve Consulting Limited, Pascal Scientific

Limited and the Enzyme and Environmental Biotechnology Research Group, FUTA which donated generously to ensure that the programme was within reach of participants and that all participants had access to free registration for the seminar with issuance of certificates of participation. An important component of the programme was a session on the services available at FUTA CRL.

CRL’s Principal Technologist, Mrs. Temitope E. Olabiran explained that the Central Research Laboratory has four units namely, Analytical, Bioresearch, Nutrition and Diagnostics labs equipped with state-of-the art-facilities such as Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) instrument, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer s, Rapid Visco Analyzer RV4500, Particle Analyzer, Freeze Dryer, Bomb Calorimeter, Amino Acid Analyzer, amongst others.

She said the facilities are available for internal and external researchers and technologists for laboratory analyses and training services on equipment and experimental techniques at affordable cost. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Adenike Oladiji, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Professor Taiwo Amos, at the event, endorsed the focus of the research seminar saying it would reposition participants for better service delivery in their places of operation. Professor Oladiji said researchers, worth the name, should not operate in their own cocoon but should broaden their horizon through collaboration and close affinity to new developments in their field to make them globally relevant and competitive. She commended the leadership of the CRL for a job well done and assured them of the management support at all times.

She expressed the readiness of FUTA to deepen its relationship with ICGEB for the benefits of both institutions. The seminar which held on site and virtually attracted about 400 participants from thirteen different institutions