7 PhD Students, 132 Others Receive N18.9 Million Research Grants

This year’s Grooming Centre university scholarship awards benefited seven PhD degree students and 132 others, including 43 graduates and 89 undergraduates.

Final-year students from over 50 public and private universities and polytechnics in the country were awarded a total of N18.9 million for their research projects.

The money was presented to them on Thursday, November 9, at an award ceremony held at the organization’s corporate offices in Lagos.

Each postgraduate student received N200,000, while their undergraduate peers received N100,000 each.

Mr Egulefu Chikezie, Head of Project, Grooming Centre Nigeria, a microfinance institution, explained at the event that the annual non-refundable grant is part of the bank’s social intervention initiatives on education to encourage and boost evidence-based research activities and knowledge among tertiary school students in critical economic areas such as social enterprise, microfinance, inclusive finance, rural development, micro, small and medium enterprises, and rural development.

He stated that the bank, which has also given out scholarship grants to 2,700 senior secondary school students over the last seven years through the Lady Kate Scholarship Scheme, believes that many university students in the country would like to conduct research on problems-solved issues that have an impact on the economy but lack funds, which is why the research grants were created to help them.

Chikezie revealed that the gesture is an annual event, with the center aiming to increase the number of beneficiaries and the amount of the research funds each year but failing to attract enough qualified applicants.

For example, he stated that the goal this year was to reach out to 150 students, but only 139 of the about 340 applicants were successful.

“But the beauty of it is that what we started in 2019 with just 25 winners from only eight institutions has grown to 139 beneficiaries from 50 tertiary schools this year, and this is a great joy for us more so that we have some PhD students among them for the first time,” he declared.

Chikezie emphasized that the winning research projects with grants managed by the Centre for Research in Enterprise and Action in Management (CREM) are practical, innovative, and capable of promoting any of the critical economic areas of interest in the Nigerian space.

He stated that all applications were examined by an impartial panel of jurists, resulting in an open, fair, and transparent selection procedure.

He stated that what is important to the center is for award recipients to create wealth with their ideas and benefit society, not their schools, religion, or states of origin.

Dr. Godwin Nwabunka, CEO and Founder of Grooming Centre, stated in his own address that Nigeria is a large market with many business opportunities, but only those with an entrepreneurial and creative spirit could provide the products and services capable of satisfying the people’s needs in order to maximize profit and better the society.

Mwabunka, who is represented by Mr. Alex Enyinnah, the center’s executive director, stated that the center is interested in assisting young people who are imaginative and thinkers to generate wealth, achieve financial freedom, and even become employers of labor rather than job searchers after graduation.

He stated that there are many adolescents out there who simply need a slight push to get out of poverty, which is why the Grooming Centre is prepared to support such specific students through research grants.

While assuring that the center will continue to provide such assistance to eligible students, he advised all recipients to stay focused on their academics.

Guest speaker and professor of sociology at Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Olabisi Yusuf, said it was a good move that one of the scholarship program’s key areas of interest is to ensure women are economically empowered in both the public and private sectors as men.

She stated that with gender diversity, Nigerian women must assume leadership roles in all aspects of life.

She praised both the Grooming Centre and the recipients, stating that the positive effects of the funds would extend beyond the recipients.

Some of the beneficiaries shared their experiences during the event, revealing that the funds have been a huge help to them and their parents.

Nkemjika Nwagu, a PhD student at the University of Ibadan, said she is thrilled to have received the grant and that it will help her financially.

Her research study is titled “Effects of knowledge management and innovation on the sustainability of social enterprise.”

She stated that she is optimistic that the project will provide her with chances in her chosen sector.

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