The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, has offered N1billion each to 12 Nigerian universities enlisted as pioneer centres of excellence for research and development programmes in the country.
The universities are University of Abuja, UNIABUJA, University of Benin, UNIBEN, University of Ibadan, UI, University of Maiduguri, UNIMAD, Bayero University Kano, BUK, and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, UNIZIK, Akwa.
Others are University of Uyo, UNIUYO, Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, University of Jos, UNIJOS, University of Lagos, UNILAG, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, ATBU, and Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, UDUS.
Speaking during the presentation of allocation letters and guidelines to Vice-Chancellors of the universities, the TETFund Executive-Secretary, Suleiman Bogoro, two universities were selected each per geopolitical zones.
According to Mr Bogoro, the aim for establishing the centres of excellence is to support strategic and applications oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications.
“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,” Daily Trust quoted Mr Bogoro as saying.
He further said: “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.”
“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.
According to the terms of reference, within a five year period, University of Abuja is expected to blaze the trail as centre of excellence in public governance and leadership.
In the same vein, University of Jos and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University are expected to churn out research in food security, while University of Maiduguri would focus on arid zone research and development and Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto to concentrate on urology and nephrology.
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 milti-disciplinary studies and University of Lagos in biodiversity conservation and eco-system management.