Nigerian PhD student Dickson Ndukwe Agbai has emerged as the best student with the highest grades for a doctorate in bio-fuels during the recent graduation ceremony at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.
- Dr Agbai, who hails from Abia State was adjudged the best for the award of the doctorate degree following his outstanding thesis
- His thesis was adjudged an interesting and worthy piece of research which tackles a problem that is highly relevant to the Nigerian government
- Dr Agbai was on full postgraduate research (PhD) scholarship from the Federal Government of Nigeria, through Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
Dr Agbai, a native of Ugwueke Community in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, was adjudged the best for the award of the doctorate degree following his outstanding thesis on: Analysis of Biofuel Potential in Nigeria.
A joint report of examiners endorsed by Dr Paul Wilson of the University of Nottingham and Dr P J Dawson of Newcastle University testified to Dickson’s outstanding performance.
Their report read: ‘That the candidate be admitted immediately to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This is the very best and the topmost PhD viva/thesis examination grade based on the university’s grading system.”
“This thesis examines the potential of biofuel production in Nigeria using programming methods and various scenarios are estimated and appropriate policy recommendations follow. It is an interesting and worthy piece of research which tackles a problem that is highly relevant to the Nigerian government.”
It added that the method of analysis is appropriate and while not novel, the application is. Also, the report said that the thesis is well-written and well-presented and its structure is of doctoral standard.
Scope of research
In the thesis, which was supervised by Emeritus Professor David R. Harvey and Dr. Lionel Hubbard, Agbai investigated the technical feasibility and Economics of Biofuel (Bioethanol production) in Nigeria from the six regional administrative, economic and political platforms using Sector Mathematical Non-linear Programming Model which he developed in the course of his research studies.
During the oral examination of two hours and 10 minutes, Dr Agbai, who was sponsored by the Nigerian government, was said to have defended the thesis well; demonstrating a thorough understanding of his work and placed his research in the wider context of the literature.
According to the report, he understands and appreciates the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative methods and provided a convincing argument for that chosen. It added that the policy recommendations, which should be helpful to the Nigerian government in its development of a biofuel policy, follow from the results and the candidate understands their implications.
Dr Stuart Edwards, the dean of postgraduate studies of the university, was effusive in his commendation of Dickson’s performance. Dr Agbai’s academic feat has also not gone unnoticed back home as non-governmental organization Eco Empowerment & Sensitization Initiative in his native Abia State commended him for bringing honour to Nigeria.
Prior to bagging his PhD Degree, Dickson Agbai had a BSc degree in agricultural economics from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and a Master’s degree in environmental and resource management from Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus, Germany.
Agbai’s brilliance earned him a number of scholarships for his studies:
- Full postgraduate research (PhD) scholarship from Federal Government of Nigeria, through Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
- Partial postgraduate (M.Sc) scholarship from Octopol Nigeria Limited
- Full undergraduate scholarship provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria (Federal Ministry of Education)
Dr Dickson Agbai’s core professional competence includes:
– Business Analytics
– Policy Analysis
– Bio-economic Modelling (model development, calibration and validation)
– Scenarios and Sensitivity Analysis (Policy change and/or Market change Analysis)
– Agricultural, Environmental and Economic Impact Analysis
– Professional Technical/Business Proposal Writing