The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says N6, 396,159,060.00 has been approved for 217 research proposals recommended by the National Research Fund (NRF) under the 2020 grant cycle exercise.

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, made this known at the inauguration of the Fund’s National Research Fund Screening and Monitoring Committee (NRFS&MC) and Technical Advisory Group (TAG) in Abuja.

He said the amount approved under the grant cycle that was concluded in January 2021, almost equalled the N6.7 billion that was disbursed for 240 research grants between 2012 to 2019.

“From 2012 to 2019, a total of 240 research grants have been awarded at a total cost of N6,708,367,736.25. Also in 2020, a key development in the NRF grant administration was the introduction of an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) to automate the hitherto manual processes associated with receiving and processing of Concept Notes and Research Proposals.

“This was done with a view to entrench and sustain the culture of efficiency and effectiveness in the process of awarding the NRF Grant and in line with global best practices. The 2020 NRF Grant Cycle Exercise was concluded in January 2021 with a total of 217 Research Proposals recommended for Grant Award at a total cost of N6, 396,159,060.00,” he said.

Bogoro, who has embarked upon a paradigm shift that has flipped the list of intervention areas in TETFund, catapulting research to the top spot, posited that Research and Development (R&D) holds the massive key for the nation’s rapid development.

He said the TETFund National Research Fund intervention line was introduced in 2009 as a Special Intervention Programme aimed at promoting the conduct of applied research and innovation by academics in public tertiary educational institutions and research institutes.

“In order to actualize these objectives, the TETFund Board of Trustees set up the NRF Screening and Monitoring Committee (NRFS&MC) and charged it with the responsibility for implementing and administering the intervention. For 2021, we have made available N8.5 billion, indicating a clear progression and our determination to keep moving in the right direction,” he added.

While saying that the NRF intervention is primarily targeted at researchers in public tertiary education institutions, Bogoro said private universities can now take advantage of the fund by teaming up with eligible beneficiary institutions to compete for research grants.

He, however, charged members of the committee to live above board, warning that TETFund’s would not hesitate to wield the big stick against erring members as two members were fired from the previous committee for compromising standard.

Bogoro listed the terms of reference of the NRF and Monitoring Committee to include “Pre-qualify applications for research grants from academics in Beneficiary Institutions to ensure that they are in compliance with the approved templates for accessing the TETFund NRF Grant.”