The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has approved the sum of N12 billion for 12 public universities in the country to enable them to undertake research and development programmes.

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Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary of the fund, handed out allocation letters and guidelines to vice-chancellors of the universities after the federal government approved N1 billion as take-off grant for each of the institutions.

Among the varsities picked are the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), University of Benin (UNIBEN), University of Ibadan (UI), University of Maiduguri (UNIMAD), as well as the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Akwa.

Others are the University of Uyo; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike; University of Jos (UNIJOS); University of Lagos (UNILAG); Bayero University Kano (BUK); Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University; and Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto.

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For the selection process, two universities from each geopolitical zone were drawn from the first, second, and third-generation institutions in the country. Each of the institutions was also given terms of reference they are to meet.

Within a five-year period, UNIABUJA is tasked to set the pace as the centre of excellence in public governance and leadership while UNIJOS and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University are to do research on food security.

In the same vein, UNIMAID was charged to focus on the arid zone research and development just as the Usman Dan Fodio University is expected to concentrate its research effort on urology and nephrology.

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BUK was tasked on renewable energy while Michael Okpara University is expected to focus on root crop research and development. Nnamdi Azikiwe University is expected to research on agric and engineering translational studies.

Others are UNIBEN for aquaculture and food technology; the University of Uyo for computational intelligence; UI for multi-disciplinary studies; and UNILAG for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.

Speaking in the event of the handout, Bogoro said the aim for establishing the “centres of excellence” is to support strategic and application-oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications.

According to the executive secretary, the implication is to support national and globally competitive research and development in strategic and applied sciences, including medicine with the aim of generating innovations.

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