Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has disbursed a sum of N12 billion to 12 public universities selected as pioneer TETFund Centres of Excellence (TCoEs), to lead research efforts in various fields critical to addressing the nation’s development challenges.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, who presented the allocation letters to Vice-Chancellors of the universities at the inauguration of the centres in Abuja, said two universities were selected from each of the six geopolitical zones.
Bogoro said the Federal Government graciously approved N1billion as take-off grant for each of the universities to the tune of N12 billion.
The 12 universities selected as TETFund’s pioneer centres of excellence include the University of Abuja, University of Benin, University of Ibadan, University of Maiduguri, and Bayero University Kano.
Others are Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa, University of Uyo, Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, University of Jos, University of Lagos, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, and Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto.
University of Abuja is expected to blaze the trail as the centre of excellence in public governance and leadership while University of Jos and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University are expected to churn out research in food security.
Also, University of Benin is for Aquaculture and food technology, University of Uyo, in computational intelligence, University of Ibadan, in multi-disciplinary studies and the University of Lagos in biodiversity conservation and eco-system management among others.
Bogoro said the allocation covers a period of five years, during which the centres are expected to embark on problem-solving research to enhance national development.
According to him, the aim of establishing the centres of excellence was to support strategic, applied research and expertise with potentials for industrial application, as well as bring together complementary resources needed for technical development and industrial application.
He further charged the instructions to “enhance capacity to deliver national high-quality training to address development challenges; enhance capacity to deliver applied research to address the national development challenge.”
He assured the centres of the unflinching support of TETFund towards the realisation of the objectives of the initiative as they embark on the task of implementing the programme.
Also speaking, the Chairman, TETFund Board of Trustees, Alhaji Kashim Imam, expressed the fund’s commitment to supporting tertiary education in the country in any way possible, stating that the fund shares in the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to impact beneficiary institutions with integrity, quality and accountability.
Imam, who noted that TETFund’s budget for the last two years was within the region of N250 billion respectively, said as at the end of October 2020, the fund had already captured about N251 billion as part of its budget for 2021, and is on course to surpass its budget for the past two years in 2021.
While stating that no meaningful economic achievement can take place without research, he said TETFund will announce a selection of the second batch of centres of excellence next year.
He further urged the universities to equip the centres and invest the funds wisely to achieve the objectives for establishing the centres.
Responding on behalf of the Vice-Chancellors of beneficiary universities, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, thanked TETFund for the support and assured that the centres will work hard to meet the expectations of the fund.
Earlier, the Director of Research and Development Centre, TETFund, Dr Salihu Bature, expressed hope that all Nigerian universities would eventually become centres of excellence.
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