By Arowona Abdulazeez
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof AbdulGaniyu Ambali, has declared that Nigerian universities cannot afford to toy with the mandate of carrying out quality researches towards solving national problems.
Prof Ambali stated this while addressing a gathering of seasoned academics from several universities across the country who gathered at the Old Senate Chambers of the University of Ilorin for a Grantsmanship Workshop aimed at boosting research development and capabilities in Nigeria.
Declaring the Workshop open, Prof. Ambali, who was representeed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. N.Y.S. Ijaiya, explained that research is a mandate that cannot be taken for granted.
The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that what makes a University is its contribution to knowledge, underscoring the need for universities to carry out ground-breaking researches.
He said, “At this moment in our national life, with recession on our door, opportunities exist for academics to obtain grants, even though it is not an easy task, as it is not every proposal that receives it”.
According to the representative of the Vice-Chancellor, “There are criteria and some of these criteria change from time to time”. She noted that writing good research proposals, which will attract grants from local, national, as well as international sources, requires “knowledge, skills and experience”, adding that the “Workshop provides opportunities to rub minds with those who are experienced in this matter.”
While urging the participants to share the knowledge gained at the Workshop with their colleagues in order to benefit everyone, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor noted that the University of Ilorin was opened to partnerships, MoUs with other institutions in order to boost research development and add value to the society.
In his remarks, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Technology and Innovations), Prof. Gabriel Olatunji, said that research has “gone beyond cubicle research”, stressing that the trend now is for partnership and consortium research groups, which are more competitive in order to advance the frontiers of research knowledge and win huge research grants.
Earlier in his address, the Director of the Centre for Research Development and In-House Training (CREDIT), Prof. B.S. Alabi, whose centre organised the event, said that the workshop was in accordance with the University’s tripartite mandate of teaching, research and community service.
According to him, “the research component demands being grounded in the art of ground-breaking proposal writing to win research grants from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), the National Institute of Health (NIH), research institutes, non-governmental organisations and other funding agencies. The benefits of these grants, when secured, will be of tremendous benefits to the individuals, the universities and the community at large as the output will bring about positive impacts.”
Prof. Alabi expressed appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, and his management team for the “unflinching financial and other supports” to CREDIT and commended the efforts of staff of the Centre, saying: “This is an uncommon commitment to our Centre’s and indeed the University’s mission and vision.”
CREDIT’s Research Manager (Humanities Cluster), Prof. Yahya Oyewole Imam, made the first presentation, entitled “Strategies for Writing Fundable Research Proposals” at the three-day Workshop. In his lecture, Prof. Imam highlighted forms and sources of research funding, obtaining information for funding and the basics of fundable research proposals.
According to him, there is no uniform format of writing research proposals but stressed that such proposals must answer the questions of what, why and how. While noting that the research proposal must be competitive, innovative and tailored to fit into the mandate of the funders and address their peculiar needs, he tasked the academics on clarity of expression and language, accuracy of data, correctness and currency of facts and figures, verifiability and validity of claims as well as the use of aesthetic illustrations to enhance the visual aspects of the proposal.
Prof. Imam, who also noted that funding agencies could be gender sensitive, urged female academics to take advantage of this, and enjoined the participants to adopt a multidisciplinary approach in order to boost their chances of winning research grants.
Some participants spoke with the Unilorin Bulletin in separate interviews on their experience at the workshop and their impression of Unilorin.
The Director, Centre for Research Innovation and Discovery, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Prof. Olawole Obembe, said, “The workshop is a good one.” He maintained that “no university can survive without good research”, adding that “for a university to be rated globally, the research aspect of its existence must be at the forefront and that is why I believe that this workshop is very good.”
On her part, Dr Ofure Aito of the Department of English and Literary Studies, Federal University, Lokoja, disclosed that this was her first visit to the University of Ilorin. She said, “It is very impressive in terms of its structural elegance; outside that, I have always been interested in Unilorin. I’ve always wondered how they do it, because they are always at the forefront of research and academic innovations.”
“Every time universities are rated, Unilorin is always on the top and I’ve always wondered why; so this Grantsmanship Workshop is actually the secret behind the masquerade; this kind of opened up the secrets of what University of Ilorin is doing and what has actually kept them at that high level status”, she said.
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