Chairman, TETFund Board of Trustees, Alhaji Kashim Imam, says the board has increased the national research fund on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The board approved the intervention of N8.5 billion for 2021 from the original N7.5 billion.
Imam disclosed this at a 2-day capacity building workshop for heads of beneficiary institutions and staff of TETFund centres of excellence, in Abuja.
He stressed the importance of research as a prerequisite for national development, adding that no nation can develop without research.
The board chairman, however, noted that the fund has to strike a balance between funding physical infrastructure and funding research.
Speaking on the academic development program of the fund, he said the list of scholars sponsored by TETFund for PhDs and masters was incredible, warning that if the country funds infrastructure without research and scholarships, the institutions would only be half fulfilled.
“TETFund will add another 12 centres of excellence next year and allocate N1 billion to each.
“Six state universities and six Polytechnics will be added to the centres of excellence next year, and 70 per cent of the funds will be for research funding,” he said.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, said the TETFund centres of excellence project is at the first instance, a zonal tertiary education project designed to promote specialization among participating universities within the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, among others.
Bogoro said the project is stemmed towards addressing identified national development challenges, as well as strengthening the capacities of beneficiary universities to deliver high-quality training and applied research.
Bogoro reassured the centres of the unwavering support of the fund while urging them to ensure that the guidelines for the management of the centres were strictly adhered to.
“Due to targeted interventions by the fund, the universities were now better ranked and more academics have PhDs.
“However, until all Nigerian universities are transformed into centres of excellence