The Nigerian Conservation Foundation has identified lack of funds, poor background of research environment and lack of statistical knowledge as some of the barriers to conducting effective research works in the country and Africa in general.
Other factors, according to the NCF, include the absence of workable laboratories, lack of skills to understand social issues, inadequate of data collection techniques and lack of communication of research works done in Africa to the rest of the world.
“Hence, the need to build the capacity of environmental scientists as solutions to the identified challenges,” Mrs. Funmi Tsewinor of the NCF said at a workshop in Lagos for environmental scientists.
Tsewinor stated that the workshop was part of the NCF’s effort to support African environmental scientists to continue to play an important role in sustainable natural resource management.
The training, with the theme: ‘Developing Research Capacity among African Environmental Scientists’, was supported by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Tropical Biology Association, and had participants drawn from universities, conservation organisations and research institutions within the country.
Tsewinor said the NCF aimed to develop the capacity of young environmental scientists in the areas of proposal writing, research data analysis and skills on how to communicate research findings to large audiences.
She added, “A lot of times, within the developing contest, degradation is driven by lack of information because research results are not being disseminated to the right audience or due to poor funding.
“So, there is the need to build the capacity of environmental scientists. We also realised that strict academic environment does not expose young scientists to conservation projects hence, the need to fill the skill gap among the scientists.”
A resource person, Prof. Aderopo Akinsoji of the Department of Botany, University of Lagos, said available funds were never enough for the number of researches to be conducted, adding that only few good research proposals were accepted and funded by donors.
“This is why we must we must develop the skills capacity of these young scientists to be able to write good research proposals that will attract funding. The training workshop has developed the skills of the participants on techniques of writing successful grant proposals for them to access limited funds available to carry out conservation researches,” he said.
The Director, Academic Planning, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Dr. Babatunde Lawal, stressed the importance of sharing acquired knowledge among researchers.
He said, “It is very important to know that anything you do that is novel, which is not shared, is not useful. So, if a scientist succeeded in getting funds and conducted a research, it is very important that he or she disseminates the findings to different fora using different tools.
“This the best thing to do and we are happy these selected trainees will go home with skills on how to get research findings across to the large audiences.”
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