Tetfund Commits N1bn to Research and Development
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) has committed the sum of N1 billion (One billion Naira) to Research and Development (R&D) activities for the 2020 financial year.
The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of TetFund, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro disclosed this in an interview with Economic Confidential in Abuja.
He said the move was to pursue the drive for the institutionalization of research and development, especially the constitution of R&D standing committee which was put in place on his assumption of office for the second term.
“I am not scared to tell you some figures. But the fact is that research and development i is an expensive venture. But graciously, the Board of Trustees of TetFund approved virtually everything. In fact, last year, N500 million was set aside to pursue the drive for the institutionalization of R&D, especially the constitution and inauguration of the R&D standing committee. And in the 2020 budget, N1bn was made available”, he said.
According to him, the Committee has started work in earnest and is moving round this country. They are moving round to meet the big guns in the industries and the private sector.
He noted that “in the most competitive economies, the greatest of technologies, it is all about knowledge. It is about science, technology and innovation (STI), largely, and of course leadership that shows the right way, and gives the right example going forward.
Asked whether the development was a tall order that may face challenges in the coming days, Professor Bogoro said” Not at all. We are encouraged by the support of the Hon Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu as well as the commitment and backing of President Muhammadu Buhari in this direction. I am glad to inform you that President Muhammad Buhari has graciously taken significant steps in providing a framework for the development of science and technology by mainstreaming it into the country’s national development strategies”.
He posited that Science, Technology and Innovation has come to stay in the country as tis can be viewed with the lens of 50 per cent increment in the National Research Fund(NRF) of TetFund in the 2020 approved budget.
He further stated that the Board of Trustees of TetFund having realized the position of content development, especially the place of research and development in global ranking of tertiary institutions, recommended the increment of the NRF, adding that currently, the NRF is the foremost and largest funding window for research and development in Nigeria.
In his reaction as to why the agency is currently targeting research and development as apriority, the versatile professor said “we are happy to elevate research and development in identifying the right priorities going forward. The greatest of nations, the greatest of economy, and the greatest of technology are all hinged on quality education, and it is research that defines quality education.
He argued that the US and Russia, are using research to develop their military and technological mind for economic advantage, stressing that it has become necessary for government, the academia and industry to interface in a sustainable manner that produced goods and services for local consumption and export, adding that any research that did not hold out commercial possibilities was an effort in futility against emerging realities.
Speaking further on the inauguration of the 162-member committee on R&D, he said they were drawn from a pool of Nigerian researchers, innovators, representatives of relevant MDAs, and the private sector.
According to him, they are expected to drive TetFund’s intervention policy in public tertiary institutions towards the nation’s economic and technological competitiveness and ensure a paradigm shift in research and development in the country.
He noted that their activities would focus on 13 thematic areas, including education, agriculture, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and digital economy, engineering, defense and military, energy, environment and bio-resources, Medicine, pharmaceuticals, petroleum, industrialization and infrastructure development.