Expert urges African researchers, scientists to focus on accessibility of funds




Expert urges African researchers, scientists to focus on accessibility of funds

The Head of African Strategic Partnerships of the Africa Research and Innovation Partnerships (ARIP), Lancaster University, United kingdom, Dr Akanimo Odon has called on African researchers and innovators to focus on gaining accessibility to research funding instead of lamenting its unavailability.

He made this call on Thursday during an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the 5th Congress of the African Council for Scientific Research and Innovation (ASRIC) holding in Mombasa, Kenya.

Odon who doubles as the Chair, ASRIC Diaspora, United Kingdom chapter urged scientists, researchers and innovators of African descent to work towards accessing funds instead of complaining about it’s unavailability.

“Access to finance is the ability of individuals or enterprises to obtain financial aid or grants but most African scientists are not even aware of such opportunities.

“ If you ask an average African researcher or innovator now what their limiting factor is, the first answer would be lack of money.

“I disagree with their answer because the funds are available for different kinds of research purposes, it is how they can access it which should be addressed.

“ Personally, on my laptop I have an excel spreadsheet of over a 100 organisations that fund research in my field,’’ he said.

He also lamented the lack of the right framework and understanding of systems among researchers when it comes to accessing funds.

“ Most times, some African researchers rush to prepare and submit research proposals because they suddenly bump into it and they are unprepared.

“ When I ask the average African researcher to list the top five or ten organisations who give funding in their field, they usually don’t.

“So I wonder how can you be looking for money and yet don’t know who gives money”

“ When they bump into the call for grants, they rush their proposals and submit a badly job done,’’ he said.

He urged African researchers and scientists to be strategic, prepared and intentional about finding funding opportunities.

NAN reports that Odon has won in excess of 30 million pounds in research grants for different organisations in the last few years and now engages institutions on resource mobilization.