TETFund: varsities, others get N10m for research training
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, has allocated N10 million to each public university, polytechnic and college of education to organise trainings for lecturers on how to write research proposals.
Executive secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, who disclosed this at an Interactive Session with Directors of Research of Nigerian Universities in Abuja, said the move became necessary following the inability of majority of Nigerian lecturers to write grant-wining proposals.
Bogoro expressed worry at the low capacity of Nigerian researchers to even write fundable research proposals, adding that 70-80 per cent of research proposals submitted to TETFund were dropped at first sight as they lacked the basic ingredients of research.
“At TETFund, for the first time this year, in our 2019 budget, I created N10 million available 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.
“The vice chancellors, rectors and provosts will give a weeklong capacity building training or workshop annually to improve the capacity of our researchers in proposal writing so that we can win grants,” he said.
The TETFund boss advocated for a National Assembly legislation that appreciates research and development, warning that whatever was achieved at the interactive session could be only at the surface if the university system does not get the buy-in of the legislature by way of bills or other legislations.
He pledged to collaborate with the National Universities Commission, NUC, to advance research and development in the country, while calling on other agencies with similar mandates to come together and complement the effort of each other.
“In Nigeria, agencies that have similar mandates but arguably with a collective call of changing Nigeria want to operate as islands; they are mutually exclusive in their operations; so even in the complementary areas of their mandates that they ought to work together we lose it all.
“We should reflect over the role of research in the agenda of development. Most of our universities are missing that purpose.
“We celebrate publications, not research that solve economic technological and societal problems. That is where we missed it all.
“Many of the times we make the mistake of patronising charlatans instead of experts; we cannot move forward with that attitude; we just have to correct it,” he said.
He disclosed that with the approval of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, TETFund has made allocations in its 2019 budget for a Research and development Standing Committee which will draw some of Nigeria’s best researchers within Nigeria and from the diaspora to come and sit and look very deeply at issues.
Bogoro had created a Department for Research and Development and Centres of Excellence at TETFund in 2014 with the objective of emphasising innovative and cutting edge research that will provide a platform for Nigerian institutions and industries to come together.