Private varsities, others begin accessing TETFund’s N7.5bn research fund

Funmi Lawrence

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) on Monday disclosed that private universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country are already accessing its N7.5 billion National Research Fund (NRF) for the purpose of bolstering the conduct of cutting-edge research.

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, made the revelation while declaring open a 4-Day Meeting of TETFund Research and Development Standing Committee.

Bogoro said the breakthrough came two years after the Board of Trustees granted the approval for private institutions to draw from the funds.

He said since the inauguration of the TETFund committee on Sept. 24, 2020, the committee had gone far in implementing President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to support government initiatives of responding to the threat of Covid-19 through ground-breaking research on phyto-medical drugs, prophylactics and vaccines.

He added that some of the results of the fund’s intervention would be announced soon.

He further said there were evidence that results of the fund’s research drive were already coming.

According to him the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI, and Innoson Motors, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the utilisation of locally produced goods, signalling a step forward.

“TETFund has also commenced funding of Defence and Security Research and Development (R&D) toward responding to the insecurity challenges and insurgency in the country.

” It is geared toward making Nigeria self-sufficient in locally produced technology for the armed forces and other security Agencies.

“Our vision is working, the governors are buying it, industries are buying it; we are involving the youth, we are hoping that soon, a national R&D summit would be held,” he said.

The TETFund boss also announced the demise of four members of the committee namely: Prof. Emmanuel Ezugwu, Prof. Femi Odekunle, Prof. Habu Galadima, and Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe.

He disclosed that Mr Laoye Jaiyeola of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, (NESG), was brought in to replace Prof. Femi Odekunle, who passed on as one of the four Vice Chairmen of the Committee.

Speaking on the report of the TETFund Committee, the Chairman of the committee, Prof. Gadzama Njida, described the report as its most important activity.

Njida said that despite setbacks brought by the demise of their four colleagues, TETFund was able to sustain the progress of the committee’s work.

He, therefore, stressed the importance of an action plan after the report had been reviewed for the purpose of establishing the National R&D Foundation.

One of the Vice Chairmen of the Committee, Mr Mansur Ahmed, harped on the need for Nigeria to embrace problem-solving research.

Ahmed noted that countries such as China, UK, US and Russia, currently distributing vaccines had moved into a stage of development where research and technology drive their national development.

He said until Nigeria moved into that stage where science, innovation and technology drive its national development, the future of the country was still bleak.

Speaking on the report, the Chairman of Technical Coordination Committee of TETFund on Research, Dr Mustapha Popoola said over 390 institutions were visited by 39 groups subsumed in 13 subcommittees or thematic groups, and covered about 85 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, (GDP)

Popoola said the report was over 200 pages detailing basic issues about the country’s economic situation.

According to him, the committee is rolling out three documents including the National R&D Foundation Report, and Project Information Document, PID.

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