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By Ahmed Rahma

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has secured a research grant worth €38,000.

In a statement issued on Saturday, it was disclosed that Mr Ogundipe won the prize for his project proposal titled Implementation of the Biodiversity Information and Data System for Coastal Ecosystem in Nigeria.

In the statement issued by Mrs Nonye Oguama, a Principal Assistant Registrar, Corporate Affairs of the institution, it was said that the sum of money is the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) grants for the year 2021, which was also won by another botanist, Dr Temitope Onuminya.

According to Mrs Oguama, the fund is part of the 2021 Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme, funded by the European Union.

According to the statement, the GBIF, an international organisation with Secretariat in Copenhagen, focuses on making scientific data on biodiversity available through the internet.

It provides human resources and technical infrastructure enabling the publication of and access to large volumes of data gathered over centuries about the earth’s species.

“Ogundipe, a Professor of Botany, won a national level grant of €38,000 for his project proposal Implementation of the Biodiversity Information and Data System for Coastal Ecosystem in Nigeria,” a part of the read.

“Onuminya, on the other hand, won an institutional level grant of €18,850 for implementation of a BID project proposal Expanding the Visibility of the Lagos Herbarium through Digitisation and Mobilisation of Plant Specimen Data.

“The University of Lagos is rejoicing with them (mentor and mentee) and wishes them successful implementation of their proposals,” the statement added.

About the BID programme

According to information on its website, as earlier stated, the programme is funded by the European Union and led by GBIF with the aim of enhancing capacity for effective mobilization and use of biodiversity data in research and policy in the ‘ACP’ nations of sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Funding from the programme’s first phase has supported capacity enhancement activities and projects to mobilize biodiversity data and strengthened national and regional biodiversity information facilities in these regions.

Its impacts to date have focused on data that support the regions’ policy needs, particularly in connection with protected areas, threatened species and invasive alien species.

Other past Nigerians with the grants

The UNILAG VC is not the first to receive this funding support from the organisation to execute a research project. On October 15, 2017, Dr Omokafe Alaba Ugbogu of the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria located in Ibadan, Oyo State received a national grant of €39,972 to carry out a research project titled Capacity advancement for the Nigeria node of GBIF. The project was completed on March 31, 2019.

Reason for the project

The objective of the project was to initiate mobilisation of biodiversity data from Nigerian data holders, custodians and institutions, estimated to hold more than 700,000 data records related to plants and animals within protected areas and likewise invasive, threatened and endemic species.

While educating biodiversity data stakeholders across Nigeria on the benefits of biodiversity data mobilisation and sharing, the project also disseminated and demonstrated the best practices for digitising natural history collections through training workshops and thereby mobilize biodiversity data from Nigeria.

Coordination of the reseach

Project activities were coordinated by the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) and executed in collaboration with project partners at Nigeria National Park Service, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Nnadi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nasarawa State University and the University of Kansas.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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