Stakeholders canvass establishment of research funding agency
Speaking at a three-day national workshop held at the Lagos State University (LASU) in collaboration with the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), and Open Africa Innovation Research (OpenAIR), the participants expressed concern over the non-availability of research agencies.
The Director of Research and Innovation at the NUC, Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf had pointed out that access to funds rather than funding was the problem with research in Nigeria.
While acknowledging the existence of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and the research grants provided through the NUC, Prof Segun Adewuya of LASU said the establishment of a research funding agency is imperative.
A former Executive Secretary of NUC, Peter Okebukola faulted foreign donor agencies that dictate to African researchers the areas they should research on.
Okebukola believed that since the funds were loans rather than gifts, the agencies should rather let African researchers decide on how to utilise them for researches.
Similarly, LASU vice Chancellor, Olarewaju Fagbohun stressed the need for universities and industries to work together to produce meaningful research towards national development.
He stated that industries don’t fund universities’ researches because the institutions undertake researches without carrying industry players along.
“Therefore, the industry cannot fund researches because they do not utilise the outcome. When you have innovation, you will be able to commercialise it and that is what will generate money.
“As long as there is disconnect between the universities and industry, in terms of research, there is no way to achieve coherence for development,’’ he said.
The VC said the workshop was meant to develop the capacity of academics, who would be applying for grants, and non-academics, saddled with the responsibility of managing such grants.
Fagbohun said that the workshop would also serve as platform for hands-on training of participants from different universities and research institutions.
In his keynote address, the immediate Director-General of the NIALS, Epiphany Azinge said that based on findings, majority of the universities are not accessing research grants available for them.
Azinge observed that $25 billion dollars TETFUND grant had not been accessed by Nigerian universities, adding that the highest amount received for research by any university in the last one year was N40 million.
“It is clear that majority of the research funds are channelled to polytechnics and colleges of education because universities are not applying for the grant. Universities are not applying for research grants enough,” he stated.
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