UNILAG researchers grab N1.25bn grant

The University of Lagos for sometime has been pushing for the commercialisation of research carried out by members of its academic staff.

From the announcement made by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, it is clear the institution is breaking new grounds.

This is because in the last one year, academic staff  of UNILAG have attracted about N1.25 billion research grants.

According to the vice-chancellor, the university has made much efforts to attract funds to develop research, in the realisation that only government or the university cannot fund research.

“We have also made submissions to some calls through multi-disciplinary cluster groups we created.

‘’The African Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery, Herbal Medicine and Regulatory Science, headed by Prof. Olukemi Ogunkoya, won a World Bank NUC  – National Universities, Commission –  call for African Centre of Excellence Impact.

“The grant is worth over 4.5 million dollars (about N1.5 billion).

‘’The executive secretary of the NUC was particularly impressed with the university’s nine submissions and the enthusiasm shown by the research teams that submitted different proposals,” he said.

Ogundipe said the university had equally strengthened its research centres and given them the mandate to pursue research that could attract grants from multi-national corporations and government agencies.

“Four of the research centres were launched within the year, with two of them being the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centres for Excellence for Housing and Centre for Entrepreneurship.

‘’This centres have won the bid to host the ARUA Centre of Excellence in the university, to be funded with 200,000 dollars yearly by ARUA.

“To enhance our research visibility also, we have collaborated with Vitafoam Nigeria, and this led to the donation of a polyurethane laboratory worth N20 million.

‘’We have also received some equipment worth 200,000 dollars from the U.S to support research in the Central Research Laboratory,’’ he said.

According to Ogundipe, the next four years will, therefore, witness accelerated pace in the institution’s drive for research funding.

On collaboration, the vice-chancellor said that he believed that the university could no longer operate in ‘silos’.

He said that the management had taken trips to meet with agencies, foreign governments and international organisations as well as universities to create collaborations that would move the institution forward.

“We have visited the Finnish, Chinese, German and French embassies in Abuja to share our vision with them and seek their support in actualising the vision.

“I also led a team from the university to  Finland, Canada, China and United Kingdom to establish new relationships that will eventually help us launch into the world knowledge market.

‘’ I am pleased to let you know that we have made some quick gains in this.

“At separate times in the outgoing year, a team from Finland and the ambassador of Finland to Nigeria visited the university to work out how we can further consolidate the relationship between Finland and University of Lagos.

‘’ This will eventually lead to an agreement with VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland on our entrepreneurship drive and exchange of staff and students,’’ he said.