Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is targeting to raise the annual allocation to the National Research Fund (NRF) from N8.5 billion in 2021 to N10 billion in 2022.
TETFund executive secretary, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, stated this during a virtual meeting on “Democratisation of Higher Education in Nigeria through Open Access,” co-hosted by the Fund and the Training Centre in Communication, Nairobi, as part of activities to mark International Open Access Week.
According to the TETFund boss, following the agency’s proposal, the Board of Trustees’ had in 2019 graciously approved N5 billion for NRF, which was raised to N7.5 billion in 2020 and N8.5 billion in 2021.
“Over the last two and half years now, we have raised funds available for research. There are two categories; institution based and National Research Fund.
“The institution based has a ceiling of about may be N3,600 US dollars and it is for mainly basic research while the higher ceiling grant of about 92 or 93,000 US dollars is the National Research Fund aimed at promoting applied research, and to that extent, in 2019 I made case to the Board of Trustees of TETFund to increase the threshold.
“It used to be a kind of seed money. Seed money of N4 billion for eight years but from the year 2019 to last year and this year, we increased it to N5 billion annually. Last year we increased it from N5 billion to N7.5 billion and this year it is N8.5 billion and we are hoping in 2022 it will move to N10 billion,” he added.
He said NRF is one of the major platforms put in place by the government through TETFund to support the academic community in research to achieve specific objectives, particularly in the area of science, technology and innovation.
While expressing the readiness of TETFund to always mainstream open access/science through massive support for Research and Development (R&D), Bogoro said the Fund had recently established 12 Centres of Excellence across the country.
He said the move was aimed at supporting cutting-edge research mainly in universities so as to provide solutions to various problems bedeviling the society as well as position Nigeria as a major player in the knowledge economy.
“We are increasing emphasis on Science, Technology and Innovation to solve societal problems,” Bogoro said, even as he said democratisation of higher education in Nigeria would improve more access to research and its supportive platforms to the schools and the society.
Bogoro, however, revealed that TETFund has developed a project impact tracking system to evaluate the correlation of its spending on research and results so far achieved.
“Precisely and coinciding with the time, we realised that we need to know the impact of our research and so we have worked on and concluding a process of software that will help us to evaluate the impact of the research grants, so that we are not just throwing money on research exercise but we need to evaluate the impact,” he said.