Twelve public universities have been given N12 billion by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, to undertake research in various fields.
The amount, which according to TETFund would be shared equally among the universities, is to enable them to carry out research and development programmes that would contribute to national growth.
The universities picked were the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), the University of Benin (UNIBEN), the University of Ibadan (UI), the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAD), Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Akwa, the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, the University of Jos (UNIJOS), the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) and Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto.
The universities were drawn from first, second, and third-generation universities in the country; two universities each per geopolitical zones.
Presenting allocation letters and guidelines to Vice-Chancellors of the universities, Executive Secretary of the Fund, Suleiman Bogoro said the Federal Government graciously approved N1billion as a take-off grant for each of the universities, totalling N12 billion.
According to the terms of reference, 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.
In the same vein, 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.
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 the University of Benin, aquaculture, and food technology; the University of Uyo in computational intelligence; the University of Ibadan in multi-disciplinary studies; and the University of Lagos in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.
Bogoro said the aim of establishing the centres of excellence was to support strategic and applications-oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications.
The 12 pioneer universities are also expected to bring together the complementary resources needed for technical development and industrial application.
“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.
“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