Monday, 29th May 2023

Research, innovation: TETFund set up National Contact Point to implement AU-EU partnership

By Guardian Editor
17 February 2023   |   4:15 am
There is no doubt that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) under the leadership of Arc. Sonny Echono is unrelenting in its quest to boost research in Nigerian tertiary education.

The Executive Secretary, TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono(left); Team Lead, European Union delegation, Mr Alexander Borges Gomes, and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Mrs. Monisola Udoh, during the launching of Horizon Europe Nigerian National Contact Points Network in Abuja.

There is no doubt that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) under the leadership of Arc. Sonny Echono is unrelenting in its quest to boost research in Nigerian tertiary education.

As part of such commitment, Echono recently constituted a National Contact Point (NCP) for the implementation of a partnership with African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) on enhancement of research and innovations in the nation’s higher institution.
The NCP is to serve as a channel for information dissemination on available opportunities on the subject matter.
The Executive Secretary, TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono, who disclosed that NCP will equally provide for researchers on various workshops.
He said: “TETFund, being an intervention agency for public tertiary institutions in Nigeria, has the mandate to facilitate the institutionalization of Research and Development in tertiary institutions to support development.

Frowning that Nigeria has not been able to participate effectively in the EU research funding framework programme until now, the ES noted that the Fund has initiated the process to ensure that the researchers from Nigerian higher education institutions participate effectively in the EU Research and Innovation framework programme, tagged, the Horizon Europe.
He also informed that the Fund would be providing further support to the NCP network to enable it mobilise Nigerian research community effectively to benefit from the platform and training programmes to be deployed by the EU delegation.
According to him, the Fund has initiated several interventions aimed at resuscitating research activities in the nation’s tertiary institutions, and the interventions are intended to facilitate cutting -edged research which will contribute national developmental efforts as well as tackle global challenges.
Stressing that the Fund has supported members of NCP to participate in the AU-EU innovation Agenda Stakeholders Event held in Nairobi, Kenya in November, 2022, he stated that they will further be supported to execute the mandate of mobilizing Nigerian researchers to respond to calls arising from Horizon Europe.
He said: “TETFund is supporting research groups from various Nigerian universities through provision of training and mentoring on writing successful grant applications, project management, partnership and consortia development to further complement and extend the support being made available by EU delegate.
“Currently, the Fund has released a request for expression of interest for Nigerian researchers and research teams. TETFUND will spearhead the formation of a bilateral agreement on research and innovation between Nigeria and the EU, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and in collaboration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Science and Technology and innovation.”
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Ms. Monisola Udoh, stated that the ministry is also committed to fostering and supporting the collaboration of the Horizon Europe andNigerian National Contact Point network.
She however hoped that Nigeria will feature much more prominently than it did in the last circle.
“I am looking forward to working collaboratively with the focal persons’ network to push the agenda of Nigeria, which is to change the narrative of Nigeria being a consumer nation to a productive nation; even in the area of knowledge creation.
“And we cannot create good knowledge if we don’t engage in research. The whole essence of this gathering is about supporting R&D for national development and I am looking forward to a situation where Nigeria can benefit from this operation and our researchers better empowered to do relevant research for national development.
She said: “We need to focus on local problems that are basically human problems and if we are able to get the solution right here, Nigeria may become the provider of solution that will address humanity issues globally.
“So I equally want to say that the Ministry has about 17 agencies and under each of the agencies, we have between five and 12 of research institutes that are being supervised by these agencies.
“I want to believe that we can take this network along as we develop the programmes that this collaboration will be supporting going forward so that we can truly participate and get these research institutes to be empowered to do the research they are set out to do, which will bring progress to Nigeria, other African countries and the rest of the world.”

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