Federal government has paid out N266.5 million in research grants to 13 researchers in the first ever such award.
The grant is the first batch of funding from the National Research Fund, a N3 billion naira fund run by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
Nine of the researches will focus on science and technology innovations, including a chemical study of medicinal plants, isolation of an antimalarial agent in a local plant and developing DNA encoding for a parasite transmitting sleeping sickness.
Presenting the letters of awards to beneficiary universities and researchers, supervising education minister Nyesom Wike called on the beneficiaries to give priority to value for money.
“The government and people of Nigeria are clearly looking forward to ensure output from tertiary institutions match investment in education,” he said.
He urged that universities should not be islands in research but seek collaboration with private sector to ensure their results are “patented, protected and commercialised.”
The minister directed TETFUND to monitor use of the grants and ensure they are not diverted, insisting, “This is not another free fund to be dissipated.”
In comments, TETFUND’s board chairman Musa Babayo said the fund hoped “the outcome of the research will change the way we do things in this country.”