Dr. Sunday Adebisi, Director, African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), Centre of Excellence in Unemployment and Skills Development, and Prof. Timothy Nubi, Director, Centre for Urbanisation and Habitable Cities in the university have both secured a research grant to the tune of €1,200,000 (N540 million) from the United Kingdom Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund. While Adebisi secured the grant for Partnership, Research and Capacity Building for Youth Unemployment Solutions in Africa Prof Nubi got his for African Research Network for Urbanisation and Habitable Cities. The grants, with a duration of 36 months for the research projects , starting from Sept. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2022, are for the development of integrated solutions that will maximise employment opportunities and enhance the future of work in Africa. They are also to provide a strategic platform for developing research capacities in African institutions to address Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using a hub and spoke models that will increase collaboration among African teams from diverse disciplines. A major aim of the grant is to tackle the challenges of youth unemployment using a stakeholder network approach involving academic research institutes and nonacademic institutions with shared vision, interest, goals and objectives.
“It will also provide sponsorship for academic training for seven doctoral students, six post-doctoral fellows as well as 15 faculty members distributed across African universities for capacity building in carrying out research on skills development for reducing youth unemployment in Africa. “This grant will also be used to create a one-high performing hub that has the capacity to raise external funds, firm partnerships, explore entrepreneurial activities as well as attract excellent mentors worldwide and anchor research network across African universities toward youth skills development, in a bid to achieve the SDGs. The trickledown programmes according to Dr Adebisi will also include their striving “to hold international conferences, workshops and pieces of training that will be attended by not less than two hundred participants every year for the duration of the project”. Adebisi said that the activities, under the ARUA Centre of Excellence, would be in collaboration with universities such as Coventry, Lancaster, University of Derby, University of Cape Town and universities of Ghana and Nairobi. The hope is that the Nigerian private sector and other Nigerian based think tanks and foundations will become more involved in the provision of grants to our tertiary institutions as they seek to fabricate solutions to academic and societal issues. We can’t afford to leave this in the hands of foreigners.