UIRI’s Engineering Function was born in 2000 when the Institute was established principally to serve as a service department to install and maintain physical equipment and buildings. Its physical infrastructure comprised of several rooms serving as carpentry, welding and fabrication, machine shop and group offices. These were equipped with basic machinery that included one lathe, shaper, pedestal grinder, guillotine shearer, hydraulic power hacksaw, spot welding and arc welding machines scattered in the machine and fabrication shops whereas the carpentry shop had a planer, wood-thickness and wood lathe.
With the establishment of a government science unit (TDC) in 2005, the function was expanded to include;
- identification of resources for value addition
- technology assessment and sourcing
- training for skills development
- machinery and equipment acquisition
- prototype production, adaptation and replication of key technologies
- public dissemination of these technologies for commercial application.
The new TDC mandate demanded a better-equipped workshop, human resource as well as more space.
In 2007 with MSI funding under institutional strengthening component, Engineering infrastructure was remodeled and equipped to accommodate the Technology Development Centre with sufficient workspace, well equipped machine shop, carpentry shop, fabrication shop, spares and tool room, energy laboratory, staff offices and a computer aided design training and production unit among others. With this infrastructure, engineering capabilities were expanded to include; machine building, precision machining, reverse engineering, prototyping, machine rebuilding, welding and fabrication.