Empowering African Scholars: A Transformative Workshop on Grant Winning and Scholarly Careers

In a dynamic collaboration between Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) and DePECOS Institutions and Development Research Centre (DIaDeRC), an illuminating workshop was recently held on February 15-16, 2024, aimed at revolutionising the landscape of academic research in Africa. Themed “Grant Writing, Winning, and Rewardable Scholarly Career in Africa,” the two-day event served as a beacon of knowledge, drawing over 80 participants from diverse institutions, both public and private, uniting professors, researchers, and aspiring scholars under one common goal. The workshop featured dignitaries including Ogun State Honourable Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology (Prof Abayomi A. Arigbabu). At the opening session of the workshop, TASUED’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwole Sikiru Banjo, underscored the pivotal role of research in national development. In his address, he highlighted the need for heightened attention and support for research endeavours, positioning them as equal partners alongside teaching and community service.

A significant focus of the workshop was the pervasive challenge researchers face in crafting proposals that secure funding. Professor Samuel Ekundayo, TASUED’s Director of Research and External Relations, lamented the common struggle among researchers, where promising ideas often falter due to inadequate presentation. Responding to this challenge, the workshop aimed to bridge these gaps, providing participants with crucial guidance and mentorship. Professor Evans Osabuohien, Chair of DIaDeRC, emphasised the pivotal role of mentorship in researchers’ success stories, heralding the African Scholars Mentorship Network (ASMN) initiative as a beacon of support.

DIaDeRC’s launch of the DIaDeRC Job Portal during the workshop marked a significant milestone, offering a valuable resource for job seekers in academia and research to connect with potential employers. This initiative shows a commitment to nurturing a supportive ecosystem for African scholars to thrive.

The workshop’s intimate moments, as recounted by attendees, offered glimpses into the rich experiences and aspirations woven throughout the event. Witnessing the convergence of esteemed researchers and academics from different top research institutions in the Southwest boosted the relevance of the workshop, as participants shared anecdotes of personal growth and professional enrichment during interviews with media houses like Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and the Nigerian Tribune Online.

Most importantly, sessions led by industry experts such as Olasubomi Obadeyi of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), provided invaluable insights into ethical standards in grant processes and research communication, equipping participants with the tools to navigate complex ethical dilemmas confidently.

The workshop also equipped the participants delving deeper into specialised sessions, exploring quantitative and qualitative analyses facilitated by Dr Solomon Okunade of Chrisland University and Dr Judith Ani of Inspire World Foundation, respectively. Other sessions include mentor-mentee relationships (anchored by Prof Evans Osabuohien and Prof Samuel Oladipo), and leveraging technology for research grant-winning facilitated by Dr Ademola Adenubi, CEO of EduTAMS.

The event culminated in breakout sessions, where participants had the opportunity to present their concept notes in five thematic groups led by facilitators and DIaDeRC team members. The participants were excited at the quality of insights received from the facilitators and other fellow participants, who are now collaborating in groups dupped TASUED-DIaDeRC Community. At the closing session, certificates were issued, and participants were encouraged to network and collaborate actively within TASUED-DIaDeRC Community.

In essence, the workshop epitomised a collaborative endeavour aimed at empowering African scholars to master the techniques of grant writing and scholarly pursuits effectively. Through strategic partnerships and concerted efforts, institutions like TASUED and organisations like DIaDeRC are not only fostering research capabilities but also nurturing an environment conducive to scholarly growth and innovation.

This event, encapsulating the essence of academic collaboration and excellence, was featured in national media; reported by the Nigerian Tribune and covered by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), accentuating its significance and impact on African scholarship.

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