Education stakeholders have emphasized the need for the establishment of an institutionalized research funding agency in Nigeria.
This came following a statement by the Director of Research and Innovation, National Universities Commission, Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf that access to funds rather than funding was the problem with research in Nigeria.
Speaking at a three-day national workshop held at the Lagos State University (LASU) in collaboration with the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), and Open Africa Innovation Research (OpenAIR), participants expressed concern over the non-availability of research agencies.
While acknowledging the existence of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and the research grants provided through the NUC, the scholars stated that the establishment of a research funding agency is imperative.
A former Executive Secretary of NUC, Peter Okebukola faulted foreign donor agencies that dictate to African researchers the areas they should research on.
Okebukola believed that since the funds were loans rather than gifts, the agencies should rather let African researchers decide on how to utilize them for researches.
Similarly, LASU vice Chancellor, Olarewaju Fagbohun stressed the need for universities and industries to work together to produce meaningful research towards national development.
He stated that industries don’t fund universities’ researches because the institutions undertake researches without carrying industry players along.
“Therefore, the industry cannot fund researches because they do not utilize the outcome. When you have innovation, you will be able to commercialize it and that is what will generate money.
“As long as there is disconnect between the universities and industry, in terms of research, there is no way to achieve coherence for development,’’ he said.
The VC said the workshop was meant to develop the capacity of academics, who would be applying for grants, and non-academics, saddled with the responsibility of managing such grants.
Fagbohun said that the workshop would also serve as platform for hands-on training of participants from different universities and research institutions.