BusinessDay

Why wealthy Nigerians, institutions should invest in research—NIOB boss

The near-absence of data and easy way to build which could encourage and guide investment decisions underscores the need for wealthy Nigerians and institutions to invest in research, Kunle Awobodu, president of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), has said.

He explained the need for research, particularly into alternative building materials that have the double advantage of bringing down construction cost and also making cost of owning homes affordable.

Awobodu, who spoke at the second edition of a lecture series organized by the Association of Builders in Academia, said he had a strong belief in the potentials of the black man and his capacity for excellence.

He challenged building industry stakeholders to explore local sources of funding for their research efforts, noting that bringing research outputs to a finished level for society to adopt is a crucial part of the research ecosystem.

Awobodu pointed out that NIOB was committed to research, citing the institute’s efforts at realising the development of a world-class research centre in Abuja. Part of the key objectives of the Centre, he said, was researching into alternative building materials and promoting skills for development.

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Professor Martin Dada, chairman of the Association of Builders in Academia, had earlier set the tone for the lecture, stressing that men of ideas rule the world. He urged participants to continue with the search for workable ideas to advance society.

Speaking on ‘Exploring Opportunities for Research Grants, Conferences and Publications’, Sani Kunya, a Professor of Building at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, explained research grant and related it to the mandate of the Nigerian Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

Kunya tasked participants on sourcing research grants for advancing scientific knowledge, career development, increased visibility and supplementing provisions for the development of new programmes in their respective institutions.

He referred to what he termed the global-local context and highlighted the processes of writing research proposals for grant support, explaining some potentials of grant support available at university levels and also at TETFUND.

On his part, James Rotimi, an Associate Professor of Construction Management at the Massey University, New Zealand, highlighted the need for research, advising that researches should aim at closing the gap between the industry and academia.

“Researchers should engage the industry to identify industry’s concerns and wicked problems of the organisation or society. Beyond scoring points in publications, researchers must demonstrate the impact of research on society or sectors of the economy,” he said.

Areas of interest for a typical research funding agency were identified, including a clear indication of problems that need to be solved and how they are to be solved; a credible plan for implementation and how to turn knowledge into benefits for society.

He stresssed the need for interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary research teams to look at research from various perspectives and communicate how each team would contribute to the research efforts. He harped on the need for research proposals to align with funding agency interests

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