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TETFund spends N23bn on research projects

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TETFund spends N23bn on research projects

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says it has so far spent more than N23 billion on funding of research across the country.

Assistant Director, Research and Development (R&D) of TETFund, Dr Hadiza Ismail, announced this at a validation workshop on “Strengthening Research and Innovation Funding Agencies in West Africa”, in Abuja on Monday.

Ismail said the agency was fully committed to the establishment of a Science Granting Council in Nigeria.

She said TETFund had continued to financially support research through the National Research Fund, adding it was also working hard to ensure that research outputs were linked to industry to bring about the desired development.

“So far, the fund has spent over N23 billion on about 912 research projects that have been sponsored.

“But that also gives us an insight into the need for this workshop and what we are actually talking about.

“Despite the fact that we have given grants to over 900 projects, we want to see how we can link these research projects to industry and get viable outcomes at the end of the day to help Nigeria move forward,” she said.

The Executive Director, African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS) Network, Prof. Nicholas Ozor, said the workshop was aimed at giving momentum to a project designed to strengthen national research councils in six West African countries.

He expressed concerns about the non-existence of a national research and innovation funding agency, saying the absence of a funding agency had denied the country’s ability to attract foreign grants for research.

“Nigeria specifically has an issue currently because they do not yet have a well-recognised national research and innovation funding agency.

“That is part of why we are here to work with appropriate agencies and stakeholders within the science and innovation ecosystem to see how we can establish a functional science and innovation funding agency.

“Other countries in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, already have these councils functional and because of that, they are able to receive funding from agencies across the world to support research and development.

“Currently, TETFund is standing in as the representative council for Nigeria, but we are saying we should best situate the national research and innovation funding agency in an appropriate establishment that focuses on innovation, like the Ministry of Science and Innovation.”

The President of African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, Prof. Peter Onwualu, said innovation was important in bringing about development, hence the need to have a functional science granting council in Nigeria.

“We know that in this country, we need the results of science and technology, which usually translate into innovation.

The country needs innovation that can produce goods and services to make sure the economy runs well.

To achieve this, “we have to have a good institutional framework for doing research in Nigeria, and that is what all this project is all about”.

“We believe the outcome of this workshop will make Nigeria have a functional science granting council that can finance and fund research in all sectors of the economy, universities, polytechnics, research institutes, private sector organisations, SMEs and the informal sector.”

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