Why Nigerian professors aren’t getting research grants – TETFund boss

TETfund boss, Suleiman Bogoro. [PHOTO CREDIT: Nairametrics]
TETfund boss, Suleiman Bogoro. [PHOTO CREDIT: Nairametrics]

The reinstated Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Suleiman Bogoro, has said most Nigerian professors are not capable of getting global grants for research because of poor research proposals.

Despite the growing number of Nigerian professors, said to be about 8000, the TETfund boss is worried that many professors have low capacity to write quality research proposals.

Mr Bogoro said this while speaking at an interactive session with directors of research of Nigerian universities in Abuja on Wednesday.

The event was organised by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

The event had the theme “Bolstering Research Impact and Relevance through Systematic Research Governance in Nigeria”.

According to Mr Bogoro, some of the proposals coming to TETFund “make one to wonder if some of these professors in question are actually the principal investigators in the proposal.”

He said about 80 per cent (proposals) are ‘condemned’ because they are poor.

“I have been in some platforms overseas where some Nigerian professors have been invited and they were reluctant to climb the podium because they wanted to get PhD at that stage. It is the title that bothers them not the knowledge,” he said.

“Now they have wangled their way to top professors, but give them the topmost platform in the world, they won’t want to climb because they will misrepresent the title they are carrying. This is a challenge to us,” he said.

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Mr Bogoro said TETfund has made N10 million available for all beneficiary institutions for capacity building and training for research proposal writing.

“I insist that it will be made available to Vice Chancellors, Provosts to create a week-long training to improve the capacities of our researchers in proposal writing so that we can win grants,” he said.

Mr Bogoro said Nigerian universities have dwelled too long on teaching rather than research.

The TETfund boss said most of the country’s research is only for promotion and not for assessing societal ills.

Also speaking, the executive secretary of the NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, said the interactive session is aimed at reviving the culture of rigorous and relevance research.

“Nigeria institutions must therefore take the necessary steps to put research on the front burner of their activities so they can take their rightful place as leaders in the knowledge generation industries with impactful research findings,” he said.

He said the challenges of researchers from the universities include lack of motivation, low morale, among others.

He noted that Nigeria must begin the process of “consciously turning some of the universities into research conscious institutions.”

He urged universities to refocus their efforts on building a robust research system to access grants from institutions across the world.

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund is charged with the responsibility of supporting public tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

TETfund’s objectives include supporting and enhancing activities in various education areas, such as Teacher Education, Teaching Practice, Library Development and Special Education Programmes.

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