The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), has approved N8.5 billion naira for the conduct of ground-breaking research in medicine and other areas in 2021, under the National Research Fund, a scheme funded by the Tertiary Education Trust.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, disclosed this on Wednesday, at a three-day workshop for Directors of Research and Development of public universities in Nigeria, held at the Central Bank of Nigeria Training Institute, Maitama, Abuja.
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 N3b, it got exhausted and N1b 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 funding. And that is why I made a case for N5b in 2019 alone. In 2020, we raised it to N7.5bn.
“This year, Mr President has approved another N7.5b but guess what? with additional N1b that we intend to do ground-breaking research around medicine even in respect of the Covid-19 challenge.”
The TETFund boss said the agency intended to fund the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research to resuscitate their vaccine production.
He added that he has scheduled a meeting with the Director-General of NIMR, Prof Babatunde Salako, to be joined by brilliant professors of medicine from some universities across the country to achieve specific research objectives.
Bogoro, however, decried the failure of research institutes to establish a good relationship with universities to promote research and development, state that universities are also guilty of disregarding them.
He stressed the need for collaboration between the universities and research institutes.
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.
Earlier, TETfund Director of Research and Development, Dr Salisu Bakare, noted that universities are by nature problem-solvers, adding that when universities are not solving problems of the society, the question remains whether they are achieving their mandate.