06 Oct 2020

First Tech-U Gets €450,000 Research Grants

First Technical University, Ibadan has won three grants with a combined worth of €450,000 to undergo research activities in the country.

Vice-chancellor of the institution, Prof Ayobami Salami revealed this during an occasional lecture on African Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship delivered by the Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo at the university on Monday.

Prof Salami listed the grants to include a career development grant of €149.775 under the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP 2) awarded to Dr Olumide Ajibola, a senior lecturer in microbiology at the university.

He added that the 30-month research titled ‘Role of Schistosomiasis in Dysbiosis. Inflammation and Bacterial Translocation in Children from Nigeria’ will explore dysbiosis and inflammation of the gut by Schistosomiasis and how it promotes translocation of Salmonella into the blood.

He also added that the institution is the Nigerian partner in a multi-country £150,000 Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant for a research on the experiences of perspectives on and responses to COVID-19 in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

He noted that the project titled ‘Whose Crisis? The Global COVID-19 Crisis from the Perspective of Communities in Africa’ addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goals 1. 3 and 17, in particular in Uganda, Malawi. Eswatini, Nigeria and Botswana, with implications for broader impact across Africa and the Global South.

The vice-chancellor also said the university is also a member of a consortium of universities and several industry partners implementing the £155,464 project titled ‘Artificial Intelligence for Clean Energy (A14CE) Development’, a Higher Education Partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa (HEPSSA) contract being funded by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering.

He said: “I wish to note that this is an indication of the quality of minds and research efforts at the university, despite our age. It is our belief that a university must be a problem solver, beyond producing graduates who are expected to inspire and effect development in society. We train our students not only to think out of the box, but to think without the box.

“Right from the commencement of academic activities in January 2018. the First Technical University Tech-U), has placed premium emphasis on scholarship and research. We encourage and demand from our faculties, a proactive response to the growth and challenges of humanity.

“We see the projects that have attracted these three grants as a fruit of this desire which we have been vigorously pursuing despite all odds, and we really appreciate the funders for their timely intervention,” he said.

The guest lecturer and director of FARA, a technical arm of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the continental apex body for agricultural research and innovation in Africa, Dr Akinbamijo stated that the future of the African continent looks bleak following the failure of governments to invest in its youths.

Dr Akinbamijo who delivered the lecture titled ‘The Role of Research for Development (R4D) in Key Sectors’ said: “What is crucial in the education system is that there is a missing middle. The missing middle is the production of the fit-for-purpose graduates. I said it will be a failure if the students of this university graduate and they are writing to apply.

“Technology is a matter of quality and quantum. Those two things are important. Nigeria the country of 200 million, you cannot be generating technologies in inches and expect to run in mass. I told you China is graduating 700,000 engineers, Africa, a continent is producing 20,000, why won’t there be difference? Why won’t we import from China? It’s just a kind of mindset change and attitudinal change and attitudinal orientation and we will get there.

“I am not sure of policies on the continent. We roll out policies, you can fill in a whole library on policies, the biggest challenge is the will to implement those policies,” Akinbamijo added.