Prof. Sulaiman Bogoro, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), has urged tertiary and research institutions in the Northeast to step up efforts at accessing the National Research Fund (NRF).
Bogoro made the call at the North East zonal meeting on the NRF with vice chancellors, rectors, provosts and directors of research development from the North-East on Thursday in Bauchi.
He said NRF’s main objective is to drive socioeconomic development of Nigeria in an increasingly globalised and highly competitive knowledge driven world economy.
Bogoro said the blueprint of NRF mirrors Nigeria’s national research agenda, encapsulating the priority areas of research captured in three main categories.
“Namely, Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Sciences, Engineering Technology and Innovation (SETI) and Cross Cutting (CC).
He however described lack of exploring NFR grant for research and development in the North East zone as a big loss to the region.
“The facts and figures as well as indices and metrics all together paint a gloomy picture for NRF grant access, utilisation and outcomes for the Northeast geopolitical zone.
“I am sure you will agree with me that the Northeast zone hosts 33 eligible beneficiary institutions.
“Accounting for 15 per cent of the total number of beneficiary institutions nationwide, has produced 12 fundable research projects out of 240 from inception to date, can only be described as dire,” he said.
According to him, “in Naira and kobo, the Northeast has received N302.6 million out of a total of N6.7 billion, this represents a mere 4.5 per cent.
“If we delve deeper and consider successful completion with positive outcomes, the picture only becomes more disheartening and gloomier.
“Let us face it, such a dismal performance by the Northeast zone with respect to NRF is unacceptable.”
The TETFUND boss therefore advised the management of the institutions in the Northeast to support the research and development projects in their institutions.
Dr Salihu Girei, the Director Research and Development of TETFUND, pointed out that there is declined NRF recommended Research Proposals from the Northeast with only six proposals out of 217.
He attributed non-access to NRF grants to non-adherence to set guidelines and criteria.
“Poor research culture, poor preparation for proposal writing, poor project impact details, poor team composition/profile and poor host institutional support, amongst others,” said Girei.
Responding on behalf of others, Prof. Umar Pate, the Vice Chancellor, Federal University Kashere, Gombe State, asured TETFUND of their commitment to support research for socio-economic development of the region and the country at large.