By Okeoghene Oghenekaro
Abuja – The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says it has disbursed about N1.72 billion to finance research works in different thematic areas in tertiary institutions across the country.
Dr Abdullahi Baffa, the Executive Secretary, TETFund said this during the inauguration of the National Research Fund (NRF) Screening and Monitoring Committee and the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Book Development in Abuja on Thursday.
Baffa said the two committees would be chaired by Prof. Femi Bamiro, Pro- Chancellor, Tia Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode and Prof. Abdalla Adamu, the Vice Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria respectively.
“Since the establishment of the NRF in 2009, with seed fund of N3 billion, about N1.72 billion have so far been disbursed to finance researches in different thematic areas.
“An additional one billion naira was allocated in 2016 to beef up the intervention.’’
According to Baffa, the National Research Fund and National Book Development are among the 14 intervention lines of the TETFund mandate.
He said the two committees were put in place to assist the Fund in the screening and selection process for the purpose of administering the interventions.
Baffa said the NRF was introduced to help resuscitate research activities in the nation’s pubic tertiary institutions, so as to support scholars to meet up with the requirement of their calling.
According to him, conducting quality research in our public tertiary institutions will not only engender national growth but also raise the standard and the global competitiveness of Nigeria’s education system.
The executive secretary said that in carrying out the research proposal screening activities, the Fund divided all the critical disciplines into three categories with a total of 20 thematic areas.
He listed the three categories to include: Humanities and Social Sciences; Science, Technology and Innovation and Cross cutting.
Baffa said that the number of members of the committee on the NRF had been reduced from 80 to 21 in order to facilitate effective implementation of the research fund.
He said the Technical Advisory Group on Book Development intervention was set up with the sole objective of supporting the restoration of research and academic publishing within the higher education sector.
“ The Fund dedicated two billion naira seed grant for this programme which is being assessed by lecturers in various public tertiary institutions for the development of manuscript into books.’’
Baffa added that the number of members of the committee was reduced to 15 members from over 70 to ensure efficient and effective implementation of the intervention.
He said that one of the committee’s terms of reference was to harvest doctorate theses and masters’ dissertations from across the beneficiary institutions for possible conversion into books, among others.
Baffa noted that the chairmen and members of the two committees consisted of a wide range of professionals drawn from within the academia and some relevant parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Education.
“We are very optimistic that given the range of expertise and experience of the members of both committees, they will record better successes and accelerate Nigeria’s journey to building a strong and responsive knowledge -economy.’’
Responding on behalf of other members of the committee, Bamiro, Chairman, NRF, thanked the executive secretary for the appointment, and pledged that the committees would do their best in ensuring quality researches and publications.
According to him, it is research that drives knowledge -economy, however, I want us to interpret research beyond just research.
“If research is to translate to development, it cannot just be publications, it has to be research, development and innovations.
Bamiro, who was also a former Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, however, said, there was a significant improvement in the area of research, judging from an increase in the number of research proposals.
Also responding, Adamu, Chairman, Technical Advisory Group on Book Development appreciated the executive secretary on behalf of members of the committee, while promising to do their best to achieve their mandate.
According to him, Nigeria has been downgraded by external publishers because our universities downloads instead of uploading.
Adamu said with the two committees, Nigeria would no longer rely on external researchers but contribute to global best practices by achieving cutting edge researches. (NAN)