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UNIOSUN, TETFund, Birmingham Varsity Train Researchers On Proposal, Grantsmanship Writing

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UNIOSUN, TETFund, Birmingham Varsity Train Researchers On Proposal, Grantsmanship Writing

The President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Professor Sola Akinrinade has charged Nigerian universities on the need to support capacity building that will enhance quality scholarship and research to address the needs of the people.

Prof Akinrinade gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the 2-day Proposal Writing and Grantsmanship Workshop for Early Career Researchers, held at Osun State University Multipurpose Hall, main campus, Osogbo, Osun State capital.

The Voice Media Trust (VMT NEWS) reports that the workshop was organized by the Office of Research and Innovations Management in Conjunction with the University Of Birmingham, Nigerian Academy of Letters and TETFUND.

Delivering his keynote address, Prof Akinrinade charged scholars to enhance the quality of research, a research that would address the needs of the people.

He, however, charged the government at all levels not to appoint mediocre members of the Governing Council in all the tertiary institutions in order to add value to the system.

He said: “Government has a role to play and in the appointment of governing council, by appointing the right people into the right institutions and if the governing council are full of mediocre then there is a problem.

“They can help us by putting the right people, people that understand the system and that can add value to the system not parasites or people that will come and be looking for money.

“The truth is that the University system, polytechnic system and college of education are not places for just anybody to be in the council, but people with an understanding of what the needs of our tertiary institutions are.

“We should all pay careful attention to the kind of research emanating from our institutions. May talented scholars because of their lack of access to research funds, engage in all sorts of hanky panky to generate data.

“And when you manufacture data, the likelihood is that the output is going to be fake, and if national development is predicted on fake research, then there is a problem because policies, programs and projects might be instituted based on the findings of such reports and that is dangerous for the nation which is why we must support quality research through quality funding just like TETfund is doing.

“It is left to the integrity of the individual to ensure that he/she doesn’t engage in cutting corners with research just to quickly push out research findings.

“There are some of the challenges that we have but they can be converted if we put our minds to it that we can’t allow these things to continue, the institution should put measures in place to prevent people from engaging in false scholarship, data manufacturing which is very common”.

Speaking, on the need to mentor scholars, Prof Akinrinade said: “Mentoring is key to producing the next generation, not just in the University not just in academics, but everywhere, in the mentoring institution, you need to mentor the talented people that you see, that can take over from you.

“Any institution that does not mentor the next generation is likely to die eventually. Mentoring is a key particularly in academia, because many of the people that are coming in today don’t have the kind of background that will sustain them without being mentored properly, which is why I always encourage the senior scholars, particularly the talented ones to reproduce themselves.

“You know if you don’t reproduce yourself, the system will die and if mediocre takes over the space then it’s a problem because they will mentor people in their own image, so the best thing is to ensure that our talented scholars reproduce people in their own image.

“And that is done only through mentoring, make them come up like you, don’t kill their initiative, don’t feel threatened by their rise, many of us feel threatened because others are coming up but if you see them as the next generation, then it helps greatly to produce the next one so that the system can continue to improve.

“The government is a big player in the academic system because the government has the regulatory authority, the funding authority, without government our institutions will be in a dire state.

“Funding for teaching, funding for research, funding for the running of institutions beyond stipends, beyond salaries, money to maintain the structures are very critical and without them, there is a problem.”

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor, Osun State University, Prof Odunayo Clement Adebooye, said research is the engine that drives progress both at national and global scales through policymaking, economic, and industrial growth as well as improving standards of living.

Represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Research Innovation and Partnership Prof. Kehinde Adetunji, who expressed gratitude to the conveners and organizers of the workshop said: “I have personally observed the downward trend of research productivity and impact among universities in Africa compared to other continents of the world.

“Our Universities seem to be too much engulfed with graduate output but with decreasing focus and emphasis on research. Though increased manpower production has its role, it must be stressed that research is the engine that drives progress both at national and global scales.

“Investment in research comes with a lot of benefits and advantages. Individual researchers get a lot of fulfilment, reputation and reward from their research outputs. Nations benefit from research through informed policymaking, economic and industrial growth, and improved standards of living; while research leads to collaborative solutions to pandemics and climate change impact, sustainable development, and technological advancements at the global level. Any nation that is poised for development must therefore invest enormously in research.

“As an institution that values research, we have consistently encouraged and supported our scholars for increased capacity building through workshop participation, professional networking, and academic partnerships and collaborations.

“The results of these efforts are evident in the volume of research grants scholars from this University have attracted in the last two years. Some of these grants include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation research grants, European Research Council grants, National Research Fund grants, and a host of others. It is interesting to note that the grants attracted keep increasing on a yearly basis. I am sure that in the next couple of weeks, some more will be announced.

“This workshop is particularly important for me and this University for two reasons. One, given the array of conveners and resource persons gathered here today, each of whom had at different times won different research grants, the wrong perception in some quarters of the academia that research grants are scarce and more difficult to get for scholars in the humanities has started fading out.”

The Conveners, Professor, Olukoya Ogen, Osun State University and Professor, Insa Nolte, University of Birmingham said there are a number of things to do to ensure success for research proposals to think about issues and to be more aware of opportunities, noting that the workshop which was first held in 2011 succeeded in producing eminent scholars who are also into grantsmanship. (New Telegragh)

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