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The University of Africa, Toru-Orua, (UAT) said it was looking to establish an endowment fund for research purposes.
The Tide source reports that the institution said on Friday that it would focus on addressing development issues and advancing society.
The university made this known at the Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences’ 2nd Annual Public Lecture in a lecture titled “Using Untapped Research Funding Opportunities: An Imperative for Innovative Research in the University System”, which aimed to enlighten stakeholders on the need for financial support for the establishment.
The Dean of the Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences, Professor Francis Sikoki, in his welcoming address, said that the university’s catchment area is plagued with many challenges, which could be addressed through research.
He listed these challenges to include flooding and erosion, the threat of waterborne diseases, resource depletion caused by pollution and environmental degradation.
“Unfortunately, despite the large pool of experts in various disciplines in the university system, the lack of funds to conduct problem-solving research has been a major constraint.
“Fortunately, there are a large number of research funding sources that are not sufficiently explored.
“One of these areas is the creation of an endowment fund dedicated to funding research. This is precisely why this public conference is taking place today, first to raise awareness and second to mobilize resources for research,” said Sikoki.
The guest speaker, who is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Federal University of Technology Akure, Dr. Godknows Igali, emphasized the need for universities to seek alternative funding.
He said public sector funding for the country’s university system was on the decline.
He suggested that aside from endowments, research funding could also come from alumni bodies, industry partnerships, access to development funding, academic ties, putting the entrepreneurial cap and adopting a blended approach to funding research, among other diverse sources.
Igali, while advising the university management to be innovative, said, “The question before us is, where does Africa University want to belong?
“I would say we should be on the right side of history, be a national problem solver and a much sought after institution around the world.
“It is our disposition to today that will determine where Africa University stands in terms of relevance in the global education market. But then as the saying goes, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs,” he said.
Igali said this will require innovation and creativity from university management.
“For this, as stated earlier, the university must be able to recruit and have quality staff who can handle this highly specialized task of fundraising from multiple sources.
“It’s because it would be difficult for a researcher to be the one who has the responsibility to carry out investigations and studies and at the same time be in the grip of the hunt for resources,” he said. .
In his address, Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri called on federal agencies such as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to support the state in funding research projects by its higher education institutions. .
The governor, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, also implored public higher education institutions to step up their efforts to tap into idle research funds at the NCDMB and other public bodies.
He stressed the importance of research in higher education and the overall development of society, noting that what distinguishes an educational institution is the quality of its research work.
Earlier, ATU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Kingston Nyampfene said the public lecture was a clear call to all stakeholders, especially the government, to invest more resources in research and development to meet the manpower needs of the university system and of society as a whole. .