The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has enlisted 12 Nigerian universities as pioneer centres of excellence to spearhead research and development program that would contribute to national growth.
The universities include University of Abuja(UNIABUJA), University of Benin(UNIBEN), University of Ibadan (UI), University of Maiduguri (UNIMAD), Bayero University Kano (BUK), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Akwa, University of Uyo (UNIUYO), and the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike.
The others are University of Jos (UNIJOS), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) and Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto.
TETFund Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro presenting allocation letters and guidelines to Vice-Chancellors of the universities, said the Federal Government graciously approved N1billion as take-off grant for each of the universities, totalling N12billion.
Prof. Bogoro said the aim for establishing the centres of excellence is to support strategic and application-oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications.
He said the universities are also expected to bring together the complementary resources needed for technical development and industrial application.
According to him, “This includes concentrating multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and translational research competence in order to further the development of products, processes and services, typically by focusing on problems that demand larger efforts than can be provided by smaller projects.’’
“Bridging the gap between researchers and users, stimulating and strengthening triple-helix relationships. This is in order to enhance scientific research being patronized by industry, and in order to make the tertiary educational institutions generally more responsive to industry needs,’’ Prof. Suleiman Bogoro said.
“In addition is expertise development and training at doctorate level in areas of industry interest, and the development of knowledge management platforms and innovation hubs, “Bogoro stated in the terms of reference.
The terms of reference state that within a five year period, the University of Abuja is expected to blaze the trail as the centre of excellence in public governance and leadership.
Also, the University of Jos and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University are expected to churn out research in food security, while the University of Maiduguri would focus on arid zone research and development and Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto to concentrate on urology and nephrology.
While, Bayero University Kano would focus on renewable energy, Micheal Okpara University to focus on root crop research and development, Nnamdi Azikiwe University to dwell on agricultural and engineering translational studies.
Others are University of Benin, 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 ecosystem management.