Fed Govt spends N23b on research, says TETFUND

The Assistant Director, Research and Development (R&D) at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Dr. Hadiza Ismail, announced that the Federal Government has allocated N23 billion to support research initiatives nationwide. Dr. Ismail made this statement during a validation workshop on “Strengthening Research and Innovation Funding Agencies in West Africa” held at the TETFUND headquarters in Abuja.

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Dr. Ismail emphasized that TETFUND is fully committed to establishing a Science Granting Council in Nigeria. She highlighted the agency’s continuous financial backing for research through the National Research Fund and expressed their determination to ensure that research outcomes are effectively linked to industry, thereby fostering desired development.

She stated, “To date, the Fund has allocated over N23 billion to support approximately 912 research projects. However, this also highlights the need for this workshop and the subject matter at hand. Despite providing grants for over 900 projects, our objective is to explore avenues to connect these research endeavors with industries and achieve viable outcomes that contribute to Nigeria’s progress.”

Prof. Nicholas Ozor, the Executive Director of the African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS) Network, explained that the workshop aimed to boost a project focused on strengthening national research councils in six West African countries. He expressed concerns about the absence of a recognized national research and innovation funding agency in Nigeria, which has hindered the country’s ability to attract foreign research grants.

Prof. Ozor remarked, “Nigeria currently faces a challenge due to the lack of a well-established national research and innovation funding agency. That is why we are here—to collaborate with relevant agencies and stakeholders within the science and innovation ecosystem to establish a functional science and innovation funding agency in Nigeria. Other countries in Africa, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, already have these operational councils, enabling them to receive funding from global agencies supporting research and development. TETFUND is presently acting as the representative council for Nigeria, but we believe the ideal location for the national research and innovation funding agency would be an entity dedicated to innovation, such as the Ministry of Science and Innovation.”

Prof. Peter Onwualu, the President of the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, stressed the significance of innovation in driving development. He anticipated that the workshop would pave the way for a functional science granting council in Nigeria.

He stated, “We recognize the importance of scientific and technological outcomes, which ultimately lead to innovation. Innovation generates goods and services that contribute to a thriving economy. However, Nigeria requires a robust institutional framework for conducting research, which is the primary goal of this project. We believe the workshop’s outcomes will establish a functional science granting council in Nigeria that can provide funding and support research across various sectors of the economy, including universities, polytechnics, research institutes, private sector organizations, and even the informal sector. We need to rally support to aid those individuals found on the streets, inventing various things, and assist them in transitioning from research to tangible products and services.”

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