ABUJA – The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has enlisted twelve Nigerian universities as pioneer centres of excellence to spearhead research and development programmes that would contribute to national growth.
The universities picked include the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), the University of Benin (UNIBEN), the University of Ibadan (UI), the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), Bayero University Kano (BUK), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike; University of Jos (UNIJOS), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), and Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto.
The universities were drawn from first, second, and third generation universities in the country, and two universities each per geopolitical zone.
Presenting allocation letters and guidelines to vice chancellors of the universities, Executive Secretary of the Fund, Suleiman Bogoro, said the Federal Government graciously approved N1 billion as takeoff 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 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, while the University of Maiduguri would focus on arid zone research and development.
On its part, the Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, would concentrate on urology and nephrology.
Bayero University, Kano, would focus on renewable energy while Micheal Okpara University would focus on root crop research and development.
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, (multidisciplinary studies) and University of Lagos (biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management).
Bogoro said the aim of establishing the centres of excellence was to support strategic and applications oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications.
He said the implication of this was that they would be expected 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.
He said: “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 than 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 patronised 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.”
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