1.0 RESEARCH POLICY
Research refers to the original investigation undertaken in order to contribute to knowledge and understanding and, in the case of some disciplines, cultural innovation or aesthetic refinement. It typically involves enquiry of an experimental or critical nature driven by hypotheses or intellectual positions capable of rigorous assessment by experts in a given discipline. A researcher therefore is that individual undertaking this investigative exercise.
The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) recognizes research and research–led teaching as primary responsibilities of its academic staff. It places value on fostering, publishing, and disseminating research of the highest international quality and University research should serve to develop intellectual independence and promote community learning.
The University must ensure that it maintains the highest ethical standards. Dishonesty of any kind in research is unacceptable. Such dishonesty damages the search for truth, the individual(s) themselves, their colleagues and the general community. The University cannot permit the integrity of its research programmes to be placed in doubt.
The ABU Research Policy is a university wide policy and these guidelines should be seen as a framework for sound research practice and for the protection of individual research workers, including both staff and postgraduate research students, from possible misunderstandings. This policy sets the framework for the development and implementation of research policy at the ABU within which academic staff carry out their required research obligations, and in which graduate students can engage and be supported in their research.
1.2 Goals and Objectives
The University aims to carry out research and creative work of a consistently high international standard that will contribute to the advancement of knowledge and understanding, and to the national goals of innovation, economic development, social development, environmental sustainability and the fulfilment of its obligations.
The Objectives of the Research Policy are:
(1) Promote the role of the University as a primary source of basic research;
(2) Utilise the skills of the University to undertake all forms of research that contribute to the advancement of knowledge, cultural and social development, preservation of the environment and economic growth;
(3) Develop portfolios of research that are of regional, national and international relevance and build on the strengths of the University and/or create strengths which the University has identified as a priority;
(4) Maintain cohesive plans and effective management policies and practices that foster excellence, support individual, project and programmatic research,
(5) Work to increase external funding and support for research and creative work; (6) Protect, develop and exploit the intellectual property developed in the
(7) Promote research based teaching and enhance scholarship through clearly linking research, professional practice, creative work and teaching;
(8) Place a high priority on excellence and innovation in creative work, research, research training and the dissemination of research in the professional development, recognition and rewards systems of the University;
(9) Recruit increased numbers of postgraduate and post-doctoral students and provide them with research supervision, infrastructure and support of the highest possible quality;
(10) Develop and maintain an infrastructure that can sustain and promote high quality research and that maximises interfaculty co-operation and synergies; and
(11) Promote research alliances and collaborative partnerships with other tertiary institutions, research institutions, public agencies and the private sector.
1.3 Structure of Research
Researches in ABU are conducted at 4 levels viz.:
2.Postgraduate students research.
3.Individual staff research
1.3.1 Research Strategic Plan
The Strategic Research Plan sets out in broad terms how ABU will attain its goal of becoming a “research-driven” university. To be “research-driven” implies that:
•our academic staff will be research active, and will produce nationally and internationally recognized work within and across disciplines
•we will publish our research in leading journals
•we will develop postgraduate research and publication
•teaching and learning will be research driven
Research Strategic Plans have been proven to be achievable by the application of the under listed concepts:
1. Qualifications, research output and research quality
The Plan requires most academic staff members to be research-active and sets out the defining criteria. Targets for Masters and PhD completions are set. The peer standing and public profile of our research staff will be raised.
2. Challenging, relevant and innovative research
Broad guidelines for a balance between basic and applied research will be developed. Basic research will be respected and encouraged. Intellectual Property management tools will be enhanced and commercialization of marketable intellectual property will be encouraged.
3. Areas of Excellence
Individual researchers form the backbone of the University’s research system. Identification of areas of comparative advantage for ABU needs to be undertaken. This is currently not the case hence the notion of “jack of all trade, master of none”. This concept should be dropped.
4. Research Partnerships for Strategic Purposes
1.1. A manageable number of focused international partnerships are to be developed in the specified areas of excel
2.2. More tightly-focused research partnerships with the private sector, NGO’s and
Government agencies will be created.
3.3. An expansion in inter-personal international collaborations should be encouraged, to include bringing more distinguished scientists and postdoctoral fellows to
5. Research environment, organization and systems
The capacity of the Directorate of Academic Planning & Monitoring, ABU’s Business Enterprise and the Development Office to support achievement of the foregoing goals will have to be enhanced in order to provide better support for researchers, with a strong ethos of client support and values added.
A research equipment replacement strategy will be implemented and the capacity of the
Library to offer adequate support to researchers would have to be reviewed.
6. Long term research funding and research intensiveness
This will be secured by the following measures:
•expanded external fundraising
•replacement of ageing research equipment
•attracting more and better postgraduates
•expanding the research mentoring of younger academics by more experienced staff
1.3.2 The Research Committee
The ABU Research Committee (ABURC) is the committee of Senate responsible for setting research policy, the management and administration of such policies, and advising Senate on research-related matters. The Research Committee is responsible for producing this Research Policy Manual.
1.4 Research Management
Advice and policy in research matters is coordinated through a number of bodies and committees, including the following:
(a) The University Research Committee, chaired by the DVC (Academic), is the
University’s highest research management body.
(b) Postgraduate School and Faculties are required to establish research committees to support the research activities of their staff and postgraduate thesis/dissertation students.
1.4.1 Supervision of Research Students/trainees
1.The Head of Department or Academic Unit should ensure that supervision of each research student/trainee (including Undergraduate, Graduate and early career postdoctoral staff) is assigned to specific, responsible and appropriately qualified supervisor(s), and that the ratio of research students/trainees to supervisors is low enough to assure effective intellectual interaction and effective oversight of the research at all times.
1.Supervisors or Heads of Schools or academic units should provide each research student/trainee with written material on applicable government and institutional guidelines for the conduct of research, including those covering ethical requirements for studies on human and animal studies as well as requirements for confidentiality.
1.Supervisors should be obliged to provide guidance in all matters of good research practice. This includes discussing with the student, at the outset, relevant issues of research conduct and ethics, and intellectual property, and referring any problems/queries to the Head of School for consideration.
1.Supervisors must ensure, as far as possible, the validity of research data obtained by a student under his/her supervision.
1.4.2 Peer Review
1. The University shall encourages all researchers to participate in peer review because this provides expert scrutiny of a project, and helps to maintain high standards and encourage accurate, thorough and credible research reporting.
2. Participants in peer review should act fairly and in a timely manner, should keep confidential and not disclose the content or outcome of any process in which they are involved, should declare conflicts of interest, and should ensure that they are informed, and comply with the criteria to be applied.
3. Researchers whose work is undergoing peer review must not seek to influence the process or outcomes.
4. Supervising researchers have a responsibility to assist trainee researchers, including students, in developing the necessary skills for peer review and understanding their obligation to participate.
1.4.3 Research Funding
The University needs to have a strong central part of its scholarly effort financed in a stable manner in order to enable it to plan wisely and to keep its research program in balance and harmony with the changing needs of society
Sources of Research Funding
1.Appropriations to the University – in support of research by the Government.
2.Research Grants and Contracts: Agreements for such grants and contracts may be entered into with an agency of the Federal, State or Local Government, or with a private industry or agency.
3.Developmental Grants: These may be derived from foundations, from business and industry, or from individuals.
4.University/Industry Cooperative Research Programs
5.Foundations: Many public and private foundations and not-for-profit corporations provide support for research and scholarly projects.
6.f. Scholarship and Fellowship Funds
1.4.4. Research Centre’s and Institutes
The specialized Research Institutes in ABU serve as vehicles for engaging with other research institutions and industry and facilitate interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary relationships. However, the University needs to establish full synergy between them and the Academic Departments. For example, between the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) and the Department of Agronomy. This synergy would raise the research profile of the University, focus strengths in areas where there is (or the University wishes to develop) a concentration of research excellence, including areas of applied research, and to maximize external research funding. As such they help position and promote the University’s areas of research excellence and build the University’s research reputation.
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