*As LAUTECH launches journal on Nanotechnology
By Gbenga Salau
Participants at the 2020 Nanotechnology conference organised by the LAUTECH Nanotechnology Research Group (NANO+), a multidisciplinary group of scholars at Ladoke Akintola University Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, have said Nanotechnology is a veritable tool that can be used to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) of the United Nation, and must be embraced by all.
They also said it was high time that efforts by researchers in nanotechnology should embrace innovative ideas, product development and commercialization at ensuring that the citizenry and the society benefits from their investigations.
With the success of the three previously organized workshops and conferences held in 2017, 2018 and 2019, the group was not deterred by constraints imposed by the incidence of COVID-19, reason its 4th workshop/conference on nanotechnology was via webinar.
The conference with the theme ‘Human Existence and Resource Utilization: Extending the Frontiers through Nanotechnology’ was attended by about two hundred participants including scholars, policy makers, and students from more than fifty institutions and government agencies across Africa, Asia and Europe. Participants joined the 2-day event from Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
In his opening remark, the head of the research group, Prof. A. Lateef highlighted the major contributions of the group to nanotechnology research in Nigeria; publication of 100 research articles in the last six years, organization of workshop/conference on nanotechnology since 2017, and manpower development involving students and established researchers.
The honorable Minister of Science and Technology, Federal republic of Nigeria was represented at the conference by Mr. Mfon E.J. Bassey, Director, Chemical Technology, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Abuja. The conference was declared open by the Vice-chancellor, Prof. Michael O. Ologunde, who acknowledged the contributions of LAUTECH Nanotechnology Research Group to the positive webometric ranking of the University, and increased knowledge-base in nanotechnology.
The conference witnessed the launching of the journal of the group, Nano Plus: Science and Technology of Nanomaterials, whose website (https://www.stnanojournal.org/) was unveiled by the honourable minister of science and technology after presentation to the public by the editor-in-chief, Prof. A. Lateef.
In their separate papers presented at the plenary, Dr. Mikael Syväjärvi of University of Linköping, Sweden, and Prof. A.S. AbdulKareem of Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria underscored the importance of innovation and product development in nanotechnology research. In his own presentation, Dr. Syväjärvi shared his experience of product development and innovative ideas via collaboration using the European Commission as a case study, where about 1 billion Euros have been committed to Graphene research and innovation alone with unparallel applications in all facets of human development. He encouraged researchers to rededicate themselves to research and advised African leaders to prioritize research and development as tools for the emancipation of the continent and her people.
Prof. AbdulKareem presented the applications of nanotechnology to solving water quality problems, asserting that nanotechnology remains the surest way to achieving safe water for all by the mantra of SDG of UN.
At the workshop component of the conference, Dr. Lorika S. Beukes of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa discussed at length the different types of microscopes that are needed for nanotechnology research highlighting procedures of sample preparations, imaging techniques and interpretations of results.
In his paper, Dr. Okunola Alabi of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria presented a piece on different opportunities that are available for Nigerian researchers in terms of fellowships, funding and collaborations to assist postgraduate students and mid-career academia.
More than fifty papers were presented at the conference in different areas of human endeavours that included artificial intelligence in bioprocesses and innovative nanomaterials for applications in engineering, water treatment, food and agriculture, antimicrobials, biomedical and healthcare, drug formulation and delivery, computation and simulation, environmental rejuvenation, and renewable energy as well as topical reviews.