President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N8.5 billion as the ground-breaking fund for research in Medicine and in other areas under the National Research Fund (NRF) scheme.
The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, made this known recently in Abuja, at a three-day workshop for Directors of Research and Development of public universities in Nigeria.
Addressing participants at the workshop, Bogoro said “with your support, I made a case to the board of trustees to increase the NRF research grants.
“Initially we had seed money of N3 billion, which got exhausted and N1 billion was added between 2016 and 2019.
“When I came, I decided to revolutionize it and I said it is not a question of seed money, let it be annual money and that is why I made a case for N5 billion in 2019 alone, and in 2020 we raised it to N7.5 billion.
“This year, the President has approved another N7.5 billion but, guess what, with additional N1 billion that we intend to use for groundbreaking research around medicine even in respect of the COVID-19 challenge,” he said.
Bogoro said part of the plans was to release some amount of money to the Nigerian Medical Research Institute (NMIR) to resuscitate its vaccine production.
He disclosed that a meeting had been scheduled with the Director-General of NMIR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, alongside professors of Medicine from some universities across the country in that regard.
He urged university dons not to take pleasure in titles but engage in problem-solving research that would change the narrative for the good of the nation.
He further called on research institutes to establish good working relationships with universities for enhanced research and development, stressing the need for collaboration for better results.
According to him, there is a need for collaboration between universities and research institutes in order to offer assistance where necessary.
Earlier in his remarks, TETFund Director of Research and Development, Dr Salisu Bakare, said it was important for universities to live up to the mandate of problem-solving.
He reaffirmed the need for Nigeria to transit to a knowledge economy, stressing that the Research and Development Centre of Excellence in TETFund, established for the purpose, would continue to work to achieve its mandate.
Bakare said in a bid to achieve the mandate the fund had established centers of excellence in several universities.
He added that it increased the National Research Fund and constituted a committee that was currently working on a draft bill for the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation.
He urged participating institutions at the workshop to work toward enhancing national development.(NAN)