By Joseph Erunke
TWELVE public universities have been given N12 billion by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, to undertake research in various fields.
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.
The universities picked were the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), the University of Benin (UNIBEN), the University of Ibadan (UI), the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAD), Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Akwa, the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, the University of Jos (UNIJOS), the 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. Two universities each per geopolitical zones.
Presenting allocation letters and guidelines to Vice Chancellors of the universities, Executive Secretary of the Fund, Suleiman Bogoro said the Federal Government graciously approved N1billion as take off grant for each of the universities, totalling N12 billion.
According to the terms of reference, within a five year period, the University of Abuja is expected to blaze the trail as centre of excellence in public governance and leadership.
In the same vein, University of Jos and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University are expected to churn out research in food security, while University of Maiduguri would focus on arid zone research and development and Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto to concentrate on urology and nephrology.
Bayero University, Kano would focus on renewable energy, Micheal Okpara University to focus on root crop research and development, Nnamdi Azikiwe University to dwell on agricultural and engineering translational studies.
Others are University of Benin, aquaculture and food technology, University of Uyo in computational intelligence, University of Ibadan in milti-disciplinary studies and University of Lagos in biodiversity conservation and eco-system 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.
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 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 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.