The University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, has won 840,000 euros (approximately N338million) as an infrastructural grant for its Institute of African and Diaspora Studies.
UNILAG was announced as one of the four African universities to benefit from the grant which comes under the aegis of the University of Bayreuth, Germany, to host an African Cluster Centre of Excellence.
Having been selected from more than 40 institutions which expressed interest, the grant will avail the University’s Institute to access funds worth 120,000 euros (approximately N48million) annually for the next seven years during which the project is expected to run.
According to the University, the grant is meant only for the procurement of essential facilities such as video-conferencing laboratory, human resources, among others.
Meanwhile, the University’s Institute is expected to carry out research activities on the thematic areas of mobility, specifically on migration and other core areas relating to traditional knowledge.
In a letter conveying the development to the institution, the German authorities stated that “We are delighted to inform you that the cluster’s Academic Committee, based on the recommendations of the external selection committee, enthusiastically voted to select your institution as one of the four African Cluster Centres (ACCs).
“The other institutions that will join the cluster as ACCs are Université Ouaga I Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya, and Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. We would like to convey our congratulations on this achievement and express our readiness to embark on our joint endeavour of reconfiguring African Studies, building networks, and working together on shared research questions.
The letter which was signed by Rüdiger Seesemann, the Dean of the German university’s Africa multiple centre of excellence, and Ute Fendler, the deputy dean in charge of internationalisation and public engagement, added that “According to our university’s statutes, we will now have to draft an official cooperation agreement that spells out the terms and conditions of our collaboration, including the management of funds. Here, we will involve the International Office at the University of Bayreuth. Please indicate to us the responsible parties at your institution so that we can start this process as soon as possible.”
Expressing delight over the positive happening, Wellington Oyibo, the university’s Director of Research and Innovation, said “As a background to this success, UNILAG management considered research grants as a strategy to attract funding to support government efforts. And as the director of research and innovation office at the university, the university management led by Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has given us the mandate to pursue this agenda.
“It was in fulfilment of this mandate that through our institute, we responded to the call from the German university to competitively establish African Cluster Centre of Excellence that will look at several dimensions on issues around African studies. The Bayreuth University, which is funded by European Union, provided this multimillion-euro-grants for Africa’s benefit.”