By Kuni Tyessi
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has given 12 public universities N12 billion to undertake researches.
The amount, which according to TETFund, would be shared equally among the universities, is to enable them carry out research and development programmes that would contribute to national growth.
Among the universities picked included University of Abuja (UNIABUJA),
University of Benin (UNIBEN), University of Ibadan (UI), University of Maiduguri (UNIMAD), Bayero University Kano (BUK), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Akwa, University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, University of Jos (UNIJOS), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) and Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto.
The universities — two from each geopolitical zone — were drawn from first, second and third generation institutions in the country.
Presenting the allocation letters and guidelines to vice-chancellors of the universities, the Executive Secretary of the Fund, Suleiman Bogoro, said the federal government graciously approved N1 billion as take-off grant for each of the universities, totalling N12 billion.
According to the terms of reference, within a five-year period, University of Abuja is expected to blaze the trail as the centre of excellence in public governance and leadership.
In the same vein, the University of Jos and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University are expected to churn out research in food security; University of Maiduguri would focus on the arid zone research and development, while Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto is expected to concentrate on urology and nephrology.
Bayero University, Kano would focus on renewable energy, Michael Okpara University is expected to focus on root crop research and development, while the Nnamdi Azikiwe University would dwell on agricultural and engineering translational studies.
Others are University of Benin — aquaculture and food technology; University of Uyo — computational intelligence; University of Ibadan — multi-disciplinary studies and University of Lagos, biodiversity conservation and eco-system management.
Bogoro said the aim for establishing the centres of excellence is to support strategic and applications-oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications.
He said the implication is to support national and global competitive research and development in strategic and applied sciences, including medicine with the aim of generating innovations.
The 12 pioneer universities are also expected to bring together the complementary resources needed for technical development and industrial application.
“This includes concentrating multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and translational research competence in order to further the development of products, processes and services, typically by focusing on problems that demand larger efforts that can be provided by smaller projects.
“Bridging the gap between researchers and users, stimulating and strengthening triple-helix relationships. This is in order to enhance scientific research being patronized by industry, and in order to make the tertiary educational institutions generally more responsive to industry needs.
“In addition is expertise development and training at doctorate level in areas of industry interest, and the development of knowledge management platforms and innovation hubs,” Bogoro stated in the terms of reference.