In the light of tremendous technological advancements, the need to create a conducive environment for scholars to carry out research cannot be overemphasised.
Laboratories, in this regard, are essential for scientific research and development of any nation.
Given the fact that Laboratories provide an environment where scientists can conduct experiments, test hypotheses, and analyze data, it allows them to explore new ideas and technologies, as well as develop new products and processes.
Therefore, ideal Laboratories are, no doubt, important for advancing knowledge in a variety of fields, including medicine, engineering, biotechnology, and physics.
Against this, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has moved to establish two Central Multi-purpose Laboratories under the Fund’s 2023 Special Intervention.
The laboratories will be located in the Southern and Northern Regions of Nigeria, respectively.
TETfund executive secretary, Arch. Sonny Echono, at the inauguration of the Ad Hoc Committee on the establishment of the Central Multidisciplinary Laboratories, set a one-month target for them to submit their report.
He said, “It would be recalled that TETFund had earlier commissioned a National Survey on Research Infrastructure Facilities in Nigerian Public Tertiary Institutions to assess the availability, functionality and compatibility of all existing research facilities across the beneficiary institutions in relation to contemporary requirements and global best practices.
“The survey was to enable the Fund to significantly understand and appreciate the level of investment in research infrastructure required for the institutions and each region. This will also reduce the need for researchers to embark on bench work and other critical research activities abroad.
“The Report from the survey shows that there appears to be duplication of equipment in laboratories within the same Institutions and there is absence of collaboration between faculties for effective utilization of the needed equipment.
“Furthermore, some equipment were found to be outdated, while others are underutilized. In response to this prevailing situation, the Fund made a provision for the establishment of two Central Multi-purpose Laboratories under the Fund’s 2023 Special Intervention, to be located in the Southern and Northern Regions of Nigeria, respectively.
“Consequently, the Fund considered it expedient to constitute an Ad Hoc Committee to work out the modalities for the establishment of functional and sustainable Central Multipurpose Laboratories in line with the core objective of the intervention.”
The terms of reference of the committee, according to Echono include; To make appropriate recommendations for scoping and effective establishment of the Laboratories including whether the Laboratories should be Specialized Laboratories or Multipurpose Laboratories, provide objective guidance on selection of the two beneficiary institutions to host the Laboratories taking cognizance of historical contexts, accessibility, surrounding environment including presence of industries, needs of the nearby Institutions and strategic areas of focus for maximum impact.
Others are; “Make recommendations regarding quality infrastructure in terms of laboratory building itself and other necessary facilities needed and equipment.
“Identify the equipment, facilities and infrastructure needed for each laboratory.
“Make any other recommendations that will ensure effective and efficient achievement of strategic objectives for the Establishment of the Laboratories.
“The constitution of this Committee and the composition of its membership underscores the significance of this project,” he added.
He further emphasised that innovative research and its commercialization is clearly the driver of economic growth and prosperity in the contemporary world.
“All forms of economic development in the modern era continue to depend on increased productivity arising from purposeful and problem-solving research.
“However, this is not possible without adequate research facilities and infrastructure. Thus, it is imperative to make conscious efforts to not only develop our human capital but to also provide research infrastructure to support innovative R&D on a sustainable basis. It is indeed a key pre-requisite for accelerated national development and global competitiveness.”
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the Committee, Emeritus Professor Olufemi Bamiro commended the Fund for the decision to establish two Central Multi-purpose Laboratories in the Northern and Southern regions respectively.
This, he said, will surely go a long way in rejuvenating research and training in research in our nation state.
“Permit me to further commend you Sir for the composition of the Committee to ensure the implementation of the assignment in line with the stipulated Terms of Reference.
“The Committee, like the assignment, is multidisciplinary in nature, with experts, and I mean really experienced experts, in the areas of food science and technology, energy, engineering, parasitology, medicine, biochemistry, nuclear physics, and architecture. I do not see any critical area of research endeavour that can escape the eagle eyes of the members.”