Nigeria Prize for Science: Judges receive entries
The selection process for The Nigeria Prize for Science 2016, formally took off earlier today with the handing over of entries to the panel of judges by the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the prize, Professor Alfred Susu, a past winner of the prize, in Lagos.
The prestigious prize worth $100, 000 is sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited and was inaugurated in 2003 to celebrate excellence in scientific breakthroughs while also bringing Nigerian scientists to public attention.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Prof. Susu, disclosed that a total of 15 entries were received from Nigeria and other parts of the world based on the theme: Innovation of Malaria Control.
“The prize will not be awarded other than anything but excellence,” he announced.
He further disclosed that the winner would be selected based on originality of idea and practicability in terms of commercial exploitation of the concept.
In his remarks NLNG’s General Manager, External Relations Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke said: “This will be the first time in five years scientists would submit entries for the prize since 2012. The prize had been under review since then as a result of the quality of entries submitted. The review was as recommended by stakeholders at an engagement session the same year. The Advisory Board was reconstituted this year to re-position the prize for better impact on living standards in the country.
“Major changes were made after the review, one of them being to refocus the prize to identify societal problems that need solving and encourage as wide a range of people as possible to solve them. We believe this is the path to take to make meaningful impact on the lives of Nigerians. Other changes include expanded participation and introduction of themes.
“Now, Nigerian scientists and scientists from all over the world are welcome to participate. Also, the competition is now thematic, to find solution to specific Nigerian problems. This year, we called for entries that will find solutions to Malaria in line with this year’s theme “Innovation in Malaria Control”.
“Malaria has remained one of the deadliest diseases in the country. Sadly, recent studies indicate that Nigeria has the highest number of malaria casualties worldwide, responsible for 29% of childhood death, 25% of infant mortality and 11% of maternal mortality in Nigeria. Infact, over N100 billion have been lost to the disease as cost of treatment and loss in man-hours.
“Imagine what this country would be if we found a permanent solution to this scourge. We will be increasing our life span, cut down on the scale of infant and maternal mortality; free up funds used in buying drugs for the hospitals and focusing our resources on more development initiatives,” he said.
The panel of judges for the 2016 edition is headed by Prof. Catherine Falade, a professor of pharmacology and Director, Institute for Advanced Medical Research & Training, University of Ibadan. Prof Falade is one of Nigeria’s leading experts in malaria research, focusing in the most vulnerable sub-segments of the population – children and pregnant women. She has partnered with other researchers locally and internationally to explore malaria control strategies across family, community and healthcare context.
Others include Prof. Sunday Atawodi of the Biochemistry department of Ahmadu Bello University and Prof. Obioma Nwaorgu, a public health parasitologist and epidemiologist, currently the Director, Energy and Environment, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka