Opolo R2E Webinar: Experts, Panelists Highlight the Transformative Role of Data in Driving Innovation and Economic Growth

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Experts and panelists at Opolo Global’s Research to Enterprise Webinar Series have emphasized the transformative roles of data in driving innovation and economic growth in Nigeria. The webinar, titled “Strategic Imperatives of Data to Drive Research Commercialization,” featured esteemed experts and panelists who shared insights on the significance of data in guiding research, fostering innovation, and promoting economic development.

In his opening remarks, the Head of Research and Hub Coordination, Dr. Samson Galadima noted that the webinar was organized to examine the importance of data in research, highlighting its role in setting benchmarks critical to national development. He underscored how research commercialization contributes to revenue generation and outlined the key steps involved in the process, including initiation, scaling, translation, and spinouts which ultimately lead to economic growth.

The lead presenter, Dr. Afolabi Olowookere, MD and Chief Economic Analyst, Data Services Resources Limited, focused on the interplay between data and research. He highlighted key deliverables, defining data and its various types and sources at both domestic and global levels. He emphasized the centrality of data in research, investment, and policy formulation, while also highlighting the challenges associated with data, such as unavailability, inaccessibility, and uncoordinated sources. He further delved into the creation, differentiation, and commercialization of data. Olowookere observed the significant role played by data vendors and aggregators presenting various dissemination methods, including books, online stores with subscription models, and codes. He concluded by stating that while data itself may be inexpensive, the value of relevant information derived from it is precious, underscoring the need to find the right market and make prudent investments.

The panel session, featuring Prof. Perekunah Eregha, Director, Ph.D. in Management Programmes, Pan Africa University, Lagos;  Dr. Olowookere, and Mr. Adedotun Seyingbo, a public policy analyst, addressed several critical questions, including the role of data in research commercialization and how governments and organizations can create an enabling environment for data-driven research commercialization. The panelists emphasized the pivotal role of research as the foundation for innovation and discussed the importance of transparency, patenting, and financing research and development. Ethical responsibility in data usage and the integration of emerging technologies in the commercialization process were also explored. The panelists highlighted the need for proper referencing and acknowledgment, mandatory data policies, and the utilization of digital technologies such as Blockchain, Machine Learning, and Nvivo for informed data management. Issues such as collaboration among stakeholders, the significance of historical data for effective policy monitoring and evaluation as well as the need for universities to engage in relevant research dynamics aligned with industry needs to address societal problems were highlighted.

The R2E Webinar Series succeeded in shedding light on the strategic imperatives of data in driving research commercialization. It highlighted the transformative potential of data and the critical role it plays in fueling innovation, economic growth, and societal development.


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