By Joseph Erunke
THE National Universities Commission, NUC, has engaged Nigerian foreign-based researchers on biomedical research as part of its efforts in getting a cure for Coronavirus disease in the country.
The nation’s universities’ regulatory body is pursuing this through the Nigeria Diaspora Biomedical Research Group.
The aim, according to the commission, which disclosed this in Abuja through its Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, is to build the capacity of Nigerian scientists on biomedical research.
Speaking during an event to herald the inaugural summit of the Nigeria Diaspora Biomedical Research Group, Dr Ramon-Yusuf said the partnership being facilitated by a Nigerian scientist at the University of Florida, USA, Prof. Folakemi Odedina, was also aimed at training the researchers on grant-writing proposals to access funds at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, and other research-funding agencies globally.
According to him, the partnership was one of the numerous efforts by NUC to explore opportunities through collaborations within and outside Nigeria to build the capacity of Nigerian scientists on research.
He said the partnership would forge relationships on sabbaticals support and bidirectional faculty exchange between Nigerian academic staff as well as staff of the various collaborating universities abroad, particularly the University of Florida. He lamented that the Nigerian university system had been battling the problem of research capacity and had, therefore, been exploring different avenues to enable it build capacity both at institutional and professional levels. “So in this regard, this three-day summit has three main components, the first one which is ongoing as we speak is the pre-summit biomedical research training workshop. Research capacity is quite low in our system, just as we have challenges with research infrastructure.
“So the overall objective of this strategic alliance between the Nigerian university system and Nigerians in the Diaspora and in fact including people who are not Nigerians we are trying to harness our network so that we can have an opportunity to train our people in terms of research grant writing, research techniques,” he said.
While speaking on the biomedical research, he said it was even more critical at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic because all over the world, scientists are working round the clock in an attempt to find a solution by way of a vaccine for the SARS cov2 which is popularly called the COVID-19 virus