The European Union has committed to providing 440,000 euros to support the research teams in Nigeria that have been shortlisted for funding under the Horizon Europe Project, which is a significant boost to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund’s efforts to win big international research funds to Nigerian researchers.
According to a statement released on Friday in Abuja, Tope Toogun, the head of the TETFund’s team on the Horizon Europe programme, disclosed this on Thursday while briefing Sunny Echono, the executive secretary, on ongoing efforts to ensure Nigerian researchers’ participation in the internationally renowned research project.He bemoaned the fact that, in spite of Nigeria’s abundant human resources, researchers there had hitherto received less funding for EU Horizon projects.However, Toogun claimed that things were starting to improve as a result of the TETFund’s interactions with the EU and its choice to form a team to resolve issues impeding Nigerian researchers from taking part in the project.
It is disgraceful that Nigeria, with all of its intellectual resources, is not allowed to take part in Horizon. The European Union operates on a seven-year framework. Horizon Europe is the current framework; Horizon 2020 was the previous one, and it spanned from 2013 to 2020.”Africa received roughly 350 projects, of which 146 were awarded to South Africa alone, 50–70 to Egypt and Morocco, and 46 to Kenya. Nigeria was not considered. It only means we have been watching from the sidelines, not that we haven’t been involved,” he stated.Toogun and Ayo Ajayi, another team member, briefed the TETFund’s boss.
Toogun pointed out that one of the main obstacles preventing Nigerian researchers from obtaining grants was their incapacity to adequately plan and prepare for the Horizon project. For this reason, the TETFund decided to form the team in order to remove all obstacles.The EU Commission has promised to provide a facility of 440, 000 euros in technical assistance to help the development of capability in what we come up with in this initiative that the TETFund has begun. We have selected the first 60 research teams from roughly 400 applicants.
One of the main components of the rigorous physical training sessions we will be conducting for the research teams we have chosen in September will be on EU project management skills, he said.In addition, Toogun stated that his team had created a National Contact Point network for researchers in Nigeria and uploaded it to the international web, noting that this was a crucial need for obtaining the award.
In addition, he said, “We have implemented research management software, and all 400 research teams will be uploaded on this platform.”Sonny Echono, the executive secretary of the TETFund, stated that the organisation is dedicated to making sure Nigerian researchers are competitive in the international arena and that the Fund is pursuing scholarships for scholars in the nation by focusing on other international research organisations.
According to Echono, who stated that innovation and research are still crucial for addressing all of the nation’s problems, the TETFund would do everything in its power to support initiatives that would increase national research.
According to the head of TETFund, the goal of the Horizon Europe programme is to close the current gap and enable Nigerians to actively engage in the process of applying for research grants throughout EU member states.
It is extremely embarrassing to read and see in international publications that smaller African nations, like South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, and even Kenya, are participating more and receiving more research grants from these development partners, especially the EU, so the move is to make sure that Nigerian researchers break through this glass ceiling, Echono stated.
According to the head of the TETFund, the recently created NCP will be domesticated to facilitate simple cooperation amongst Nigerian researchers and to have current information about the range of research projects being carried out by Nigerians.