The sum of N8.5 billion for the conduct of groundbreaking research in medicine and other areas in 2021, under the National Research Fund, NRF, scheme funded by the Tertiary Education Trust, TETFund has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, disclosed this on Wednesday at a 3-Day Workshop for Directors of Research and Development of public universities in Nigeria held at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Training Institute, Maitama, Abuja.
Bogoro said, “With your support, I made a case to the board of trustees to increase the NRF research grants, from initially we had seed money of N3 billion but it got exhausted and N1billion was added between 2016 and 2019.
“But when I came, I decided to revolutionise 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. in 2020 we raised it to N7.5 billion.
“This year, Mr President has approved another N7.5 billion but, guess what, with additional N1 billion that we intend to do groundbreaking research around medicine even in respect of the Covid-19 challenge.“
The TETFund boss said the fund is intended to put money at the Nigerian Medical Research Institute, NMIR, to resuscitate their vaccine production.
He added that he has scheduled a meeting with the Director-General of NMIR, Prof Babatunde Salako, to be joined by brilliant professors of medicine from some universities across the country for the purpose of achieving specific research objectives.
Bogoro, however, decried the failure of research institutes to have the appetite to establish a good relationship with universities for the purpose of promoting research and development, stating that universities are also guilty of disregarding them.
He stressed the need for collaboration between the universities and research institutes to know what the institutes are doing and offer assistance where necessary.
While urging participants at the workshop to take the initiative of looking at why kidnapping has become so lucrative, the TETfund boss lamented that young engineers and technology experts were rather deploying their expertise to aid the growing wave of abductions across the country.
He challenged university professors not to only parade themselves with titles but to engage in problem-solving research that will change things for the good of the nation.