NUC, TETfund, NESG partner to boost research innovation

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By Chika Onyesi

Nigerian universities must reposition themselves to benefit from the large pool of research grants available globally in order to remain relevant.

This is according to the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, Prof Abubakar Rasheed.

He was speaking at an Interactive Session with Directors of Research and Innovation of Nigerian Universities.

While lamenting the research deficit status of Nigerian universities, Prof. Rasheed said Nigeria must begin the process of consciously turning some of its universities into research intensive institutions.

To achieve this, he says the NUC will partner the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, (NESG) to boost research innovation in Nigerian Universities.

Prof Abubakar Rasheed explained that no university can win any significant research grant in the highly competitive world, without first demonstrating the existence of a robust research management system that supervises the entire research value chain, from grant proposal writing to research accounting, project management, among others.

‘‘There is need to collaborate with other educational development institutions and the Captains of industries to improve on the research capacity and funding for Nigerian universities in line with global best practice’’. He said

Meanwhile the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, who spoke at the interactive session, said his agency allocated ten million naira (N10m) to public tertiary institution to organise trainings for lecturers on how to write research proposals.

The move according to him was to shore up the capacity of Nigerian Universities to write fundable research proposals.

‘‘TETfund realised the zero capacity of Nigerian researchers to write good proposals that can attract grants’’

He said that 70-80 per cent of research proposals received at TETFund were dropped at first sight because they lacked the basic ingredients of research.

 

“For the first time this year, in our 2019 budget, I allocated N10 million for all beneficiary institutions for capacity building training for research proposal writing. It has never happened before; and I am insisting that N10 million will be made available’’

While universities now hope to get the needed financial support to pursue research proposal writing, the organised private sector has also pledged its support to move R&D to the next level.

The Head, Human Capital Commission, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, (NESG) Mr Tope Togun, said the target of his agency is to move the Research and Development funding from 0.2 % to 50%.

According to Mr Togun, research and innovations are pushers of development and matters now more than ever while knowledge is now a major factor in promoting national agenda

‘‘For Nigeria to have an economy that thrives, it must focus on knowledge’’

‘‘Research and Development is definitely a topic that will arise at National Economic Summit in October’’ he says.

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