The third Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (Prof. Ikenna Onyido) initiated an institutional arrangement for research management in the university. Research governance and administration ensures that the university consistently leads the frontiers of national and global research. This research policy and plan has been the instrument for implementing research in the university. Twelve years after this initial effort, I perceive an urgent need to modify this document and include an essential component which describes the grant management structure of the university. This component will complement other areas of research policy by demonstrating a simple and transparent system for implementing research through proper fund management and reporting. It will make funders confident that investing in research in this university is a worthwhile effort. It will make our institution more relevant as a global centre for sustainable research in food and nutrition security and a resource base for ideas and new science and technology for national development. By including a grant management structure to the existing research policy and plan a robust scheme for carrying out feasible research and interacting with funders has been established. It is expected that by making the grant management structure of the university visible to the whole world, more research activities will be undertaken by the university, for sustainable development in food and nutrition security.
The Research Policy and Plan document seeks to define the university’s research policy thrust, which is in line with the objectives of the University as stated in its enabling law. It dwells elaborately on the administration of research with an organogram that consists of the University Research Board, a Directorate for University Research Administration, Research Programmes and Research Teams. Presently, twelve Research Programmes are available. It also outlines procedures for handling research-related issues and provides for mechanisms for enhancing research capacity and research activities and for the funding of research. The grant management structure has been incorporated into this Policy and Plan as a simple, transparent procedure for seeking for grants, managing grants and reporting.
I would like to commend the Committee that thoughtfully added this vital component to the already existing Research Policy and Plan. I thank all who made their inputs at the levels of the University-wide workshop, discussions in Senate, and the Governing Council for updating this document. The lofty ideas embedded in this document can only be translated into reality through proper implementation. The drive and innovative leadership skills of the Directorate of University Research Administration and the entire research community in the university will uplift the status of research in our dear university.
Francis O. Otunta (PhD)