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FG approves N5b for Research Intervention

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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TEFund) says the Federal Government approved the highest ever allocation of N5 billion for National Research Fund (NRF) in the TETFund 2019 intervention budget.

Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, TETFund ‘s Executive Secretary (ES) made the disclosure at the third Inauguration of the National Research Fund Screening and Monitoring Committee (NRFS&M) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Bogoro said President Muhammadu Buhari, had at various fora disclosed that his administration was worried about the low level of research funding.

He said Buhari had, however, expressed his determination to reverse the trend.

“This commitment has been actualised with the approval of the highest ever allocation of N5 billion for NRF in the TETFund 2019 Intervention Budgets.

“These funds are intended to catalyse cutting-edge research in three thematic areas of Science, Technology and Innovation, Humanities and Social Sciences; as well as other disciplines.

“This is geared towards contributing to the National Development efforts of the Federal Government in tackling national challenges’’ he said.

According to Bogoro, NRF was established in 2009 by the Fund to reinvigorate the research activities and address the paucity of funds required to conduct high quality research in Nigerian Tertiary institutions.

“A seed fund of N3 billion was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2011 for the initial take-off of NRF activities, to an additional N1 billion that was added in 2015.

“TETFund, through the NRF intervention line, has allocated N2.6 billion to 113 research projects from 2011-2019 in five batches, out of which N1.6 billion has been disbursed.

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“Since inception, the committee has screened and recommended 113 researches from five batches of research proposals and the Board of Trustees approved funding of up to N50 million grants.

“As at today, only 10 research projects have been concluded and closed out. This confirms that the pace of conducting research by the researchers has been very slow.

“We, therefore expect this committee to change the narrative. To achieve this, we thought we should bring academics of repute that can devote their time and energy to deeply review research proposals’’ the ES said.

He tasked the committee to improve on work done by the previous committee and ensure that they identified fundable proposals through various mechanisms of the committee for sponsorship.

“We expect the committee to pre-qualify applications for research grants from academics in beneficiary institutions to ensure that they are in compliance with the approved template for accessing TETFund NRF grant.

“They should categorise pre-qualified research proposals into streams and disciplines to ease appointing assessors and Reviewers.

“The committee should recommend pre-qualified and categorised proposals, serve as members of the NRF proposal defence panel.

“Monitor and report progress of ongoing research work and carry out any other responsibilities as may be assigned by the Fund,’’ the TETFund boss stated.

In his response, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, Chairman of the committee, commended Bogoro, adding that the committee has accepted the responsibility to serve the Fund.

Bamiro noted that research and development is the bedrock of the social economic development of any nation or state.

According to him, Bogoro has demonstrated commitment to developing research, noting that it is more challenged to deliver on its mandate.

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