The Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Nigeria is one of the strategic Ministries of Government saddled with the responsibility of facilitating the development and deployment of Science, Technology and Innovation to enhance the pace of Socio-economic development of the country.
The Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation was established on 1st January, 1980 by Act No1 of 1980, as the successor organ of Government to the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) which was established in 1976. By January, 1984, the Ministry was merged with the Federal Ministry of Education. Hence it was renamed, Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. By 1985, the Ministry was demerged and named the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. In its chequered history, the Ministry was again scrapped in 1992 and its research institutes and parastatals were shared among other Ministries and Agencies including the Federal Ministry of Industry, Agriculture, Health and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI). After scrapping the Ministry in 1992, NASENI was established as an arm of government for the formulation and implementation of S&T policies. Following the need to centrally coordinate R&D activities, the S&T Unit was created in the Presidency in the same year.
The Ministry was again re-established on 26th August, 1993 and the Science and Technology Unit (STU) in the Presidency became the nucleus of the new Ministry. Some of its research institutes previously transferred to other Ministries were returned to operate under the purview of the New Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. The Ministry is currently supervising 17 Research and Development Institutions and interfacing with other cognate MDAs to diversify the economy.
August 6th 2021, the Federal Government approved the change of name of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. The name change is to reposition the Ministry to drive the innovation agenda and catalyze Nigeria’s economic growth.
The name change was announced on Friday 6th August 2021, by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu at a world press conference in Abuja.
According to the minister, “ This change of name will help meet the needs of other sectors of the Nigerian economy and all stakeholders, by supporting the generation and application of knowledge and innovation to solve socio-economic challenges, as well as providing a policy and funding environment that will establish the National System of Innovation (NSI).”
On repositioning the Ministry, Dr. Onu stated that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is the engine that will drive Nigeria on the road to success, prosperity, self-reliance and greatness.
He further said that the repositioning of the Ministry will result in Research and Development (R&D) that is industry and services demand driven, adding that it would lead to rapid commercialization and ultimately improve Nigeria’s competitiveness ranking.
Dr. Onu said that to move Nigeria to its desired global competitiveness level, STI will help accelerate a demand-driven, knowledge-based economy.
On promoting commercialization of R&D results, he said; “when we succeed, it will lead to R&D breakthroughs and inventions that could be commercialized. With the right policy and legal framework to protect intellectual property, we can effectively promote commercialization in all activity sectors in the value chain for supply of raw materials, goods and services”.
The benefits of the name change and repositioning of the Ministry he added, include;
Ø Irreversible indigenous industrialisation
Ø Platform for higher productivity
Ø Job creation and quality employment generation in the economy.
Ø Significant level of poverty alleviation