UNN don wins PIRA research grants




A don at the Department of Agricultural Extension, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Agwu Ekwe Agwu has won a grant of $200,000 awarded by the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) under the Partnership for Innovative Research in Africa (PIRA). The grant was announced during a virtual programme by the AAP. Co-Director, José Jackson- Malete said that Prof. Agwu benefitted from one of the four tier grants awarded by the AAP, a consortium of 10 African universities and the Michigan State University in the United States. Agwu, according to her, would collaborate with other researchers from Michigan State University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Indira Gandhi National Open University in the grant research project, titled


“Strengthening Agricultural Extension Training in the MSU-Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) Consortium Partners in Africa.”


Jackson-Malete further explained that the grant was part of a US$1.5 million in grants awarded to 11 research teams from AAP member universities together with allied research teams from non-AAP universities in the second round of the consortium’s grant awards, with the first grant being awarded in 2017.


“The success achieved by our 2017 grantee partnerships laid a strong foundation for a second round of research funding,” Jackson-Malete stated.


This year’s grant, grouped into four categories, covered a wide range of trans-disciplinary topics including an exploration of youth empowerment processes for social change, sustainable digital health systems, novel flour foods for nutrition, and strength  ening agricultural extension, among others.


AAP Co-Director Amy Jamison added: “One of the unique aspects to these grants is the expectation that organisations will establish and develop equitable partnerships from the conception to the closeout of the project among themselves and with relevant local stakeholders.”


Also, AAP Africa Director, Richard Mkandawire, however, noted that he expected to see life-changing results from the grants in Africa.


The UNN-AAP Focal Person, Prof. Anthonia Achike, who represented the Vice-Chancellor of the university at the award ceremony, however, lauded Prof. Agwu and his team for attracting the grants, even as she thanked the AAP for its interest in African universities.


“University of Nigeria is happy to be a member of the AAP consortium,” the Vice- Chancellor noted. Agwu, while responding, said that the outcome of the research project would be applied in the review of curriculum for teaching agricultural extension courses among AAP member universities.


He, therefore, thanked the AAP for the grant awarded to his team, stating that the project would last for 18 months, effective from July 2021.




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