The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $5 million to academic centers at three Nigerian universities to prepare graduates to address national development challenges.
The awards 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 the new academic programs.
The University of Ibadan received three grants totaling almost $2.9 million, including $980,000 to help establish master's and doctoral programs in petroleum and energy economics; $950,000 to establish an eighteen-month master's program on child and adolescent mental health at University College Hospital; and $950,000 to strengthen graduate training and research in population and public health through an expansion of the university's participation in the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa.
Ahmadu Bello University was awarded two grants, including $950,000 to help establish a new graduate program in development communications and $37,000 to help the university plan for a new program in veterinary epidemiology. In addition, the University of Port Harcourt received $990,000 for its Institute of Petroleum Studies, which will work to train graduate students and conduct research in support of oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Guinea.
"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."