MacArthur today awarded nearly US$5 million to academic centers at three Nigerian universities to prepare graduates to address national development challenges. The support will help build national expertise in key disciplines, broaden the universities' connections with the public and private sectors, and help them network with other universities in Africa and beyond. An emphasis will be placed on recruiting women into these new academic programs.
"MacArthur's support of Nigerian higher education is based on the belief that robust universities and intellectual freedom are essential to developing and sustaining healthy, economically vibrant, democratic societies," said Kole Shettima, MacArthur's Nigeria Office Director. "Support to these specific departments will help position these universities to address national challenges in such critical areas as health, energy, and economic planning."
The University of Ibadan received three grants totaling US$2.88 million.
- A US$980,000 grant will help establish Master's and doctoral programs in petroleum and energy economics at the University of Ibadan. The program is designed to help build the pool of energy specialists, policy analysts, researchers and teachers able to improve management and regulation of Nigeria's natural and energy resources. It will be jointly implemented with public and private sector partner organizations in the U.S., Ghana, and Nigeria, who will contribute staff and expertise. The goal is to produce at least 120 Master's in Science, 80 Master's in Law, and 15 Ph.D. graduates within five years.
- A grant of US$950,000 will establish a new Master's program in the University College Hospital on child and adolescent mental health – the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa. The 18-month, full-time residential program is designed to increase the pool of trained experts who can provide services to children and adolescents in the region and advocate for their improved care. West Africa currently has fewer than 10 psychiatrists with expertise in this field, yet it faces a significant and debilitating child and adolescent mental health burden.
- A third grant of US$950,000 to the University of Ibadan will strengthen its graduate training and research in population and public health through expanding Ibadan's participation in the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA). The grant will help train 42 faculty members, health researchers and graduate lecturers in population and health-related fields.
Ahmadu Bello University received two grants totaling nearly US$1 million:
- A grant of US$950,000 to Ahmadu Bello University will help establish a new graduate program in development communications. The program builds on the university's successful community theater program, which has helped to educate thousands of Nigerians about issues ranging from HIV/AIDS to democracy and gender. The funding will enable the university to train students in the use of information technologies, new and traditional media, such as radio, television, social media, and theater to achieve development goals. Graduates will be trained to serve as information and communications officers in national, state and local governments. The goal is to graduate 10 Ph.D., 30 Master's, and 40 Postgraduate diploma students within the next three years.
- A US$37,000 grant to Ahmadu Bello University will help them plan for a new program in Veterinary Epidemiology. Graduates of the new program will work on the frontlines of disease control, emergency preparedness for diseases that cross the human-animal barrier, and food safety.
The University of Port Harcourt received one grant totaling US$990,000 for its Institute of Petroleum Studies. The grant will be used to establish a new program in petroleum geosciences to train graduate students and conduct research in support of exploration of oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Guinea, the frontier for oil and gas exploration in the region. The program, which will be set up with support from government, the private sector, and academic partners, is designed to help improve the production and distribution of oil and gas in the region.