By Felix Khanoba
The Ad-hoc Committee to Deepen the Research and Development Mandate of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has called on the Federal Government to put in place a National Research Foundation to drive the various research efforts in the country.
Presenting the committee’s interim report to TETFund in Abuja, its Co-Chairman, Prof Placid Njoku, lamented that Nigeria currently has no national research hub where the Fund could draw guidance.
He said the situation has left research at individual discretion and the results of such inquests have no relationship with the national development agenda, resulting in many of such academic output picking dust in the shelf.
His words: “In the process of carrying out its duties, the committee observed that there is no national research hub where TETFund could go and draw guidance.
“Research at tertiary institutions in Nigeria is left at the discretion of individual researchers; they decide what they want to research on, seek funds from anybody, and at the end of the day, publish the results of their study, and in fact, there is no relationship between what they are doing and what we may call the national development agenda.
“The is a need for a national research foundation which must be a hub that must articulate all the research efforts of Nigeria including funding, defining areas of interest and what to do when you have results that have relevance to the nation.”
Njoku, however, expressed delight at the recent establishment of research departments in all universities in the country by the National Universities Commission, even as he called on TETFund to leverage on them as platforms for coordinating research in tertiary institutions.
On his part, Co-Chairman of the Committee, Mr Tope Toogun, stressed the importance of economic development to the country, stressing that a little can only be achieved without the contribution of research.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, said the report has laid the pathway for the standing committee on research and development of the fund to follow.
Bogoro disclosed that about 128 applications for TETFund research grant were successful, adding that N4 billion, representing about 80 per cent of the N5 billion National Research Fund, would soon be accessed by the researchers.