About 5 million naira in grants has been earmarked for researchers and startups by the Nigerian Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme (NAIRS) to boost artificial intelligence (AI) innovation.

The focus is to advance AI initiative, by encouraging those interested in such studies and research in AI technology. This is meant to lead to job creation, technological growth of the nation, and a general positive drive on Nigeria as a whole.

The NAIRS is of the opinion that it is imperative to prioritize focused investments and studies in the industry in order to leverage AI’s ability to drive applications, create employment opportunities, and build strategic leadership in Africa. NAIRS added that the studies and research will play a major role in establishing flexible AI models furnished for major sectors like educational institutions, agriculture, healthcare, and banking.

As such, these grants will allow the full utilization of innovations and close the void between technical industry applications and educational advancement; as well as smoothen insights into AI’s role through test research and field tests on deployed systems.

The ministry believes that the studies will assist evidence-based strategies addressing moral AI use, data guidance, privacy, safety, automation, inclusion, and other emerging AI-related issues

Some examples of areas of study for the candidates are;

  • Enhancing agricultural productivity through precision farming, predictive analytics, and robotics to support smallholder farmers.
  • Advancing healthcare accessibility and quality, particularly in the fields of diagnostic tools, personalized treatments, and intelligent hospital systems.
  • Improving education and workforce readiness with the aid of adaptive learning platforms, tailored recommendations, and intelligent career guidance.
  • Promoting financial inclusion and expanding credit access through automated credit underwriting, AI chatbots for customer support, and fraud detection.
  • Enabling transparent and efficient governance by employing AI for tasks such as automated document processing, analytics of surveillance data, and optimization of public resources.
  • Streamlining energy management and realizing savings in areas like smart grids, predictive maintenance, and algorithmic efficiency enhancements.
  • Supporting sustainable urban development and mobility through the implementation of intelligent transportation systems, optimized allocation of city resources, and data-driven urban planning.

The anticipated benefits of this initiative are to:

  • Ensure that a minimum of 50% of research papers produced are published in well-regarded journals.
  • Foster the advancement and utilization of AI research and innovation within critical sectors in Nigeria, including Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Finance, and more.
  • Encourage the proliferation of AI startups within Nigeria.
  • Serve as the initial driving force for elevating Nigeria’s global standing in AI competitiveness.
Olatoyosi Esuola loves art, poetry, and spoken words. He is a big fan of jazz music and movies, which is why he see everyone as actors here on earth getting their takes. He has been writing poetry and articles for over a decade and has published a book of poems.

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