N8bn Budget For TETFund’s NRF: Another Boost For Research and Development, by Rahma Olamide Oladosu
If there is any critical component of education that the present management of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) takes as a major priority area, it is research and development.
As an intervention agency in the education sector, TETFund has for decades remained committed to promoting research and innovation, among Nigerian scholars and researchers, especially in the universities.
For TETFund, addressing issues and challenges stalling national development demands nothing but aggressive efforts by key stakeholders in boosting research activities and programmes.
TETFund, through its National Research Fund, NRF, has been awarding grants to Nigerian scholars to carry out research on specific thematic areas, geared towards addressing socio-economic challenges affecting the country.
The TETFund National Research Fund intervention line was introduced in 2009 as a Special Intervention Programme, aimed at promoting the conduct of applied research and innovation by academics in public tertiary educational institutions and research institutes.
In order to actualize these objectives, the TETFund Board of Trustees set up the NRF Screening and Monitoring Committee (NRFS & MC) and charged it with the responsibility of implementing and administering the intervention.
Specifically, the NRF supports the academic community in research to achieve specific objectives, particularly in the area of science, technology and innovation.
Though, there have been cries by TETFund over the ‘inadequacy’ of the yearly budget of the research fund, President Muhammadu Buhari has now acted on the matter.
The President recently directed that TETFund’s research fund under the NRF scheme be raised to the tune of N8 billion.
This is a remarkable increase from between N4-5 billion allocated to the Fund in recent Budget Cycles.
The President, who gave the directive at the 33rd Convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), charged the nation’s universities to redesign their curricula and programmes by infusing trainings and vocations that are useful for solving specific societal problems.
Buhari, represented at the event by the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, noted that the redesigning would enable the nation’s graduates to remain relevant to the economy and competitive in the world.
Stressing the importance of universities of technology in the country, the President said that they should take the lead in championing research.
He added that the Federal Government is committed to promoting research works that are relevant in transforming the nation’s fortunes and boosting national development.
“Our universities parade the finest and smartest scholars who can change the narrative and place our country on the front burner of innovators in the global arena and I encourage our scholars to collaborate with research institutes in the country for effective research output,” he said.
Buhari congratulated the Governing Council, management, staff, and students of FUTO on the approval by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for the establishment of a College of Medicine in the Institution.
He also congratulated the Vice Chancellor, Prof Nnenna Oti on her emergence as the first female Vice Chancellor and the 8th substantive Vice Chancellor of the 41-year-old nation’s premier university of technology and wished her success in her tenure.
Earlier, Prof Oti said that her vision for the institution is to lead specific and technological transformation of the nation through excellence in teaching, research, innovation and community service as well as producing world-class graduates, patents and indigenous solutions to local, national and global problems.
It is safe to conclude that Mr. President appreciates the fact that research and innovation can help actualize his development agenda for the nation. He therefore deserves special commendation for approving the N8bn new NRF Budget.
Rahma Olamide Oladosu is a Staff Writer with the Economic Confidential