A Keynote Address Delivered By Professor Patrick Oladipo Aina, The Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University at Day iv of the 2nd Eksu International Conference/ Research Fair 2014 Organized By Ekiti State University Office Of Research And Development On Thursday, 18th September, 2014 At The 3, 000-Lecture Theatre Of The University
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic)
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development)
The Acting Registrar
The University Librarian
Deans of Faculties
Directors of Units
Heads of Departments
Distinguished Participants/ Scientists
Gentlemen of the Press
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me a great pleasure and honour to deliver this address on this august occasion. I wish to welcome you to Day IV of the 2nd EKSU International Conference/ Research Fair 2014 organized by the Office of Research and Development with the theme: “Research for Sustainable Development”. This conference was primarily designed to re-emphasize the University’ commitment to excellence in research with the view of meeting up with the University’s Strategic Research Plan and Policies as well as to improve the University academic ranking, thus making it the vortex of 21st century , world class University. I salute the courage, stoic perseverance and determination of the Director, Office of Research and Development, for making the Conference/ Research Fair a reality despite all odds and for sustaining this biennial academic festival.
Incidentally, I have not only been the Chief Host but also part of the audience/participants right from Day II ( Tuesday, 16th September, 2014) when Prof. I. A. Adeyemi, the Vice-Chancellor, The Bells University, Ota, Ogun State presented his Keynote address with the title: “The Place of Research in National Development”. I was, also, here yesterday when Dr. Willie O. Siyanbola, Director, Centre for Energy Research and Development , Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State presented his with the title: “Initiating and Executing Research with Marketable Outputs: Critical Considerations and Strategies for Actions”. However, from the interactions of participants at the two days, I felt there was the need for me to re-work my address so as to trace the journey so far and to explain why we are at where we are. This I call:
RESEARCH ACTIVITIES IN EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW
Even though, Ekiti State University (EKSU) is over thirty years old, the impact of the scholarly activities on the society has remained largely elusive. This is because going down the memory lane, this Administration is the first to give particular attention to conduct of impactive research by both academic and professional members of staff on campus. Before now, members of staff had been carrying out researches majorly to earn publications for promotion. There was also no proper coordination of research efforts within the university. These reasons were responsible for the lull and difficulties we had been experiencing in kick starting the passion for peaceful research among members of staff in the University.
Within four months of my assumption of duty, I established the tripartite institutional framework of the following:
(i) Office of Research and Development;
(ii) Linkages; and
(iii) Advancement Office.
Against all odds, I have always supported the activities of Office of Research and Development. I continually encourage and give the necessary push to act, not minding the lukewarm attitude of many academics and professional staff towards impactful research. I make bold to say, that within my two years in office I have planted and have continued to cultivate a meaningful research culture in EKSU as captured by the underlisted activities of the ORD.
(i) The maiden EKSU research fair held in September 2012 which has been opening the eyes of the staff and students to the fact that they can exhibit their research efforts to colleagues for collaboration among private and public establishments as well as bi-annually has started brewing in them the importance of them carrying out a neat assessment of their research efforts before embarking or conducting any research. In few years to come, you will see the result of this in the type of research result coming out of the University that solves particular problems for the university.
(ii) Through my suggestion and request, the Senate of EKSU has given approval in principle to recognize and reward academics who publish articles in internationally recognized impact factored journals. This idea will also produce, in a few years to come, more impactful researches that will give international visibility to EKSU.
(iii) For the first time in the history of EKSU, there are now properly constituted statutory bodies in the departments, through the faculties and at the University level, to consider research proposals and recommend those that are competitively weighty for the support by the university. I have consequently recommended such researches for sponsorship by TETFUND. I have, equally, sought and gotten the approval of Council for some funds to be made available for research in the University. This implies that our University for the first time will make available some funds for execution of approved research proposals of staff and students.
(iv) The different research grants which have already been approved by the Council includes;
(a)Senate Research Grant:
The grants shall be used to support approved research proposals that focus on issues of national and global developments. It shall be a maximum of One Million Naira only (N1,000, 000.00).
(b)EKSU Research Grant:
The grant shall be used to support approved research proposals that focus on issues having direct impact on our local community. It shall be a maximum of Eight hundred thousand naira only (N800, 000. 00)
(c) EKSUORD Development Fund:
The grant shall be used to support translation of significant research results to prototypes that can be appreciated by industrialists, government, and the general public. It shall be a maximum of Five million naira only (N5, 000, 000. 00)
If these initiatives commence in 2014, I can guarantee that in two years time, the local, national and international communities would feel the impact of the impact of our university and we may be able to patent some of the research efforts arising from the University.
(v) I have, also, greatly supported our efforts and made provision whereby the University subscribed to the tune of millions of Naira to research through Research Africa Platform. Our staff could not maximize this effort for obvious reasons though the national strike embarked by ASUU and other Workers’ Unions in the University did not help the matter . My administration has the plan to keep on encouraging members staff to attract external research funds to the University. This will not only increase the financial gains of the university, it will also improve the quality of impactful researches been done by staff, as a grant winning proposal will likely produce an impactful result.
(vi) I have put in place the human infrastructure to help the University benefit more from TETFUND grant for research and publication for the University based journals.
(vii) On the physical development arm of the Office of Research and Development, I supported it to have a training room and I have commenced the organization of training workshops through which I improve the capacity of professional staff.
In a nutshell, my administration has encouraged the Office of Research and Development to promote and coordinate research activities at all levels in the University, EKSU has prioritized several research thrusts which are innovative, multidisciplinary and relevant to our society. The current thrusts focus on Biodiversity, Diseases of Lifestyle, HIV/AIDS, Materials Sciences and Engineering, Mineral Resources, Exploration and Mining. The University is also making attempts to partner with businesses, industry and other institutions in addressing the challenges of the future in an interconnected world. Ekiti State University has created a network of Scientists and Scholars who work together to achieve tenable solutions. The University currently has exchange of programme with Universities in Ghana, South Africa, the US Canada, Germany, Australia, among others in order to add value and deliver cutting edge research as well provide opportunities for comparing notes, international competitiveness and and global visibility.
On my part, I promise to continue to support and promote astutely all activities that would exacerbate research and societal development. In my strategic plan for Ekiti State University, I emphasized through our vision and mission, the need to support prolific researchers publishing in high impact factor journals, conducting assiduous and leading-edge researches, promote technology transfer, and provide well-equipped facilities to enhance teaching and researches. This is highly imperative in view of the fact that the University has, over the years, grown both really and substantially. These include over 15,180 students on regular programmes (i.e undergraduates, graduates and professional programmes) over 500 academic staff, 11 faculties, 51 departments and 82 academic programmes.
I am convinced that it is not enough for our University to enjoy top positions in research, academic and production of distinguished scholars with impeccable credentials but it is, equally, important that our immediate community and the nation at large feel the impact of our research outcomes through scholarly publications as well as conference and research fairs like this. However, an increasingly difficult impediment to conducting researches is paucity of fund.
Ladies and gentlemen, we may not be there, but I want to believe that we are gradually moving the University to where it belongs; a 21st century compliant university.
At this juncture, I have like to thank the Director, Office of Research and Development, Professor E. T. Akintayo and his committed team for making this biennial academic research festival a success. I assured you that the University will continue to support you for the purpose of realizing the research mandate of the University.
I, equally, thank the participants who came from various higher institutions within the country. It is my sincere belief and conviction that the participants, researchers and scientists would have succeeded in enriching our understanding of the key positions which research occupied in our great institution.
I thank the two previous keynote speakers immensely for their accepting to come down to EKSU despite their tight schedules.
Finally, I thank God for bringing you all safely here, and I pray that you have a wonderful and pleasantly rewarding stay, as well as a safe journey back to your destinations at the end of the conference and research fair.
Thank you and God bless you all.