As part of its commitment towards actualising the African Union, AU, and European Union, EU, partnership on research and innovation, the Tertiary Education Trust fund (TETFund) has constituted the National Contact Point (NCP) to serve as a channel for information dissemination on opportunities.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc Sonny ST Echono, who disclosed this at the launch and presentation of the Nigerian Contact Network and presentation of work programme for 2023-2024, in Abuja, said the NCP will also provide for researchers on various workshop.
Echono said TETFund, being an intervention agency for public tertiary institutions in Nigeria, has the mandate to facilitate the institutionalization of R and D in tertiary institutions to support development.
The Executive Secretary complained that Nigeria has not been able to participate effectively in the EU research funding framework programme until now.
According to him, the Fund has initiated the process to ensure that the researchers from Nigerian higher education institutions participate effectively in the EU Research and Innovation framework programme, notably the Horizon Europe.
He also said the Fund is providing further support to the NCP Network to enable it mobilize the Nigerian research community effectively to benefit from the platform and training programme to be deployed by the EU delegation.
Echono further stated that the Fund has initiated several interventions aimed at resuscitating research activities in the nation’s tertiary institutions, and the interventions are intended to facilitate cutting -edged research which will contribute national developmental efforts as well as tackle global challenges.
While stating that the Fund has supported members of NCP to participate in the AU-EU innovation Agenda Stakeholders Event held in Nairobi, Kenya in November, 2022, he said they would be supported to execute the mandate of mobilizing Nigerian researchers to respond to calls arising from Horizon Europe.
“TETFund is supporting research groups from various Nigerian universities through provision of training and mentoring on writing successful grant applications, project management, partnership and consortia development to further complement and extend the support being made available by EU delegate.
“Currently, the Fund has released a request for expression of interest for Nigerian researchers and research Teams. TETFUND will spearhead the formation of a bilateral agreement on research and innovation between Nigeria and the EU, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and in collaboration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Science and Technology and innovation,” he said.
Also speaking , the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Ms. Monisola Udoh, said the ministry is committed to fostering and supporting the collaboration of the Horizon Europe/Nigerian National Contact Point network.
“And we hope that Nigeria will feature much more prominently than we do in the last circle, and I am looking forward to working collaboratively with the focal persons network to push the agenda of Nigeria which is to change the narrative of Nigeria being a consumer nation to a productive nation; even in the area of knowledge creation.
“And we can not create good knowledge if we don’t do research and the whole purpose of this gathering is about supporting R&D for national development and am looking forward to a situation when Nigeria can trade benefits from this operation and our researchers are better empowered to do relevant research for national development.
“We need to focus on local problems that are basically human problems and if we are able to get the solution right here, Nigeria may become the provider of solution that will address humanity issues globally.
“So I also want to say that the ministry has about 17 agencies and under each of the agencies, we have between 5 and 12 of research institutes that are being supervised by these agencies, and I want to believe that we can take this network along as we develop the programmes that this collaboration will be supporting going forward, so that we can truly participate and get these research institutes to be empowered to do the research they are set out to do, which will bring Nigeria progress to other African countries and the rest of the world” she said.