Preamble: This Conference of the Institute of Neuroscience and Biomedical Research (INBR), Owerri, was the third in Nigeria, and drew scientists, young investigators and faculties from Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia. With the exception of the board members who are senior and seasoned scientists, majority of the Nigerian representatives were motivated young scientists who sponsored themselves to this meeting.
The third INBR Congress, Abuja, 2010, started on the 24th of July with the International Brain Bee Quiz Competitions which featured a few secondary schools in Nigeria. The winners of the local competitions came from Kano, Owerri, Ife and Lagos. Each local chapter was represented by the best three students who were champions from the local contest in the different local chapters. The keen competitions produced two local champions, Tolulope Olusina, and Adegoke Daniel. Either of them will represent Nigeria at the International Competitions taking place in San-Diego, California, USA, in August 2010 pending the availability of funds.
The 3RD INBR showcased research experts from the field of Neurosciences who focused on various research themes in Neurodegeneration and Neuroregeneration.
The Advanced School: This focused on basic research in Neurodegeneration and Neuroregeneration with the sub-theme on “Understanding recent developments and advances in neuroscience”. A section of the school was dedicated to writing research papers and grant proposals by young investigators.
A colloquium on the role of government and the private sector in neuroscience research also held during the school.
The Director General of NIPRD Prof. Gamaniel K.S. in his presentation made a case for the need for Neuroscientists in research Institutions and universities to form a common front and operate under a strong umbrella in order to have a more coordinated approach in neuroscience research activities with other suggestions which will be reflected in the recommendation below.
Opening Ceremony: The ceremony was officially declared open by the Representative of the Honorable Minister of Science and Technology in the person of Prof. Peter Onwualu, the Director-General of Raw Materials Research and Development Council, who pledge the support of the Federal Government for the activities of the INBR and the promotion of neuroscience research activities. He promised that recommendations emanating from the conference will be favorably looked into by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
The Representative of the Honorable Minister for Science and Technology pointed out the existence of small grants for young investigators to support their local research activities.
The President of INBR, Prof. Polycarp Nwoha in his speech enumerated a number of problems facing Neurosciences in Nigeria which ranges from dearth of technical manpower to lack of resource personnel and funds.
Scientific Sessions: Several scientific sessions on various aspects of basic and clinical neurosciences took place during the meeting. These sessions were handled by renowned neuroscientists from North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa with resource persons cutting across the academics and clinical settings.
Poster Presentations: several posters on subjects and findings in neurology and neurosciences research were on display for comments and criticisms by both local and international neuroscientists. Their research findings gave room for further exploits in the various research interests generated.
Discussions and Recommendations from this meeting that are of National Interest for Development
- Neuroscience is the backbone of science for human development. Capacity building efforts as demonstrated by the INBR should be encouraged to support local capacity in neuroscience research.
- There is need to develop a national research policy to govern the entire research system in the country through the establishment of a National Institute for Neuroscientists and Neurological Sciences in collaboration with INBR to co-ordinate research activities and training in Nigerian-based Research institutes, universities, and other institutions of learning.
- Neuroscience research should be made more purposeful and tailored towards resolving social and health problems of the immediate community.
The initiation, collection of scientific data, and regulations to minimize the health impacts of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Nigeria
- Partnering with Nigerian Neuroscientists in the Diaspora to help in the training and advancement of education of young scientists in Nigeria and creating a database of Nigerian Neuroscientists in the Diaspora through collaboration with NIDO.
- The creation of a special fund through involvement by the Ministries of Science and Technology, Education, Environment and Health, dedicated for Neuroscience research and training and translating their research findings into viable industry by embracing the Intellectual property rights (IPR) system for commercialization of research results.
- Fostering a strong relationship with development partners abroad on issues relating to Neurosciences and must engage in purposeful research that yield scientific evidence, which could be used by government or the private sector to improve their services, actions and policies.
- The International Brain Bee should be sponsored locally and nationally by government, NGO’s and the private sector.
Professor Polycarp Nwoha
Professor Uche Osunkwo