The Federal University of Technology Akure ( FUTA ), has no doubt been the cynosure of all and sundry, especially the academia in the country, as it has been receiving one award or accolade or the other.
The institution’s integrity has been further solidified, and its claim to be one of the best universities in the country , boldered.
It has equally been a big public relations feat for the state, as the sunshine state is continuously mentioned alongside the institution and its feats.
FUTA has indeed proven itself as a Centre of Excellence.
Just recently, Prof Ibiyinka Fuwape of the Physics Department of the Institution, emerged one of the winners of African Union Kwame Nkrumah Regional Award for Scientific Excellence, AUKNASE 2020.
Mr Adebanyo Adegbenro, the Deputy Director, Corporate Communications, FUTA,
while disclosingthe good news in a statement, explained that she won the award for her outstanding contributions to cutting edge research in the areas of Climate Change, Air Quality and Biophysics.
He added that Fuwape’s research interests included: Theory of Chaos and Application of Non-linear Dynamics in Coupled Oscillator Systems, Neuronal Systems, Lower and Upper Atmospheric Research.
Furthermore, through her entry, Fuwape who currently heads a research group of the university was able to establish the existence, implications and significance of dynamical complexes in atmospheric parameters. “With appearance in several international academic conferences and publications in respected peer-reviewed journals, she has demonstrated high level of competency in research in her chosen field of study.
The African Union Award is not her first. She is a recipient of numerous scholarships, fellowships, awards and grants.
In 2006 , she won the fellowship award of the Schlumberger Faculty for the Future (FFTF) program. Received the Marshak Lectureship Award of the American Institute of Physics (APS) in 2018.
Professor Fuwape , according to the statement, was an Associate member of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy from 1992-1996.
She has also been a visiting scholar to many universities in the U.S. and Europe, with over 100 publications in reputable journals, as well as book chapters, conference abstracts and proceedings.
She is also a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Physics and Nigerian Geophysical Society.
Fuwape graduated from the prestigious University of Ibadan, Ibadan with a First-Class degree in Physics in 1984, where he emerged as the best graduating student in the entire university.
Newsmen report that it also promotes scientific development in Africa through recognition of excellence among African scientists, young researchers and encourages them to persevere in their research or academic careers and nurture their ambitions.
The German Academic Exchange Service, equally awarded the 2021 Climate Research in Africa Research Fellowship to a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Federal University of Technology Akure ( FUTA ), Dr David Awolala .
The research work titled, ‘Evaluating Weather Forecasting Information for Rainfall Index Insurance in Maximizing Selected Agricultural Value Chains in Nigeria’ , which will span 22 months , will be implemented in partnership with the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) Competence Centre, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and other German affiliations from February 2021 to December 2022.
In a letter, conveying his selection for the research fellowship, President of the DAAD, Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee said, “I am pleased to be able to inform you that the selection committee of the DAAD has selected you for the Climate Research for Alumni and Post Docs in Africa 2021. We wish you all the very best and every success with your study project.”
Awolala, a prolific scholar had been previously awarded a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship of the African Science for Weather Information and Forecasting Techniques (SWIFT) Project , under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCFR) of the Faculty of Environment, University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
The Fellowship ran between November 2018 and May 2020 and was co-hosted by the Department of Meteorology, University of Nairobi (UoN) Kenya and the Department of Meteorology, Federal University of Technology, Akure.
Reacting to the award, Dr. Awolala said the Fellowship will equip him in advancing the research agenda of the University in the aspect of promoting climate research and work in fostering institutional linkages with other African climate research centres.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape
while congratulating Dr Awolala, urged him to make the best of the Fellowship and be a good ambassador of the University.
He said the award is a reward of diligence and a display of intellectual competence.
The Federal University of Technology, Akure, has by this award, shown that it is the institution to beat, as its lecturers have received International academic scholarships in the last three months.
2017 Fulbright African Research Scholar Programme for advanced research in the United States of America USA ) winner and one of the leading researchers at the Federal University of Technology Akure ( FUTA ), Dr Folashade Olajuyigbe, has won the 2020 International Research Grant from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Collaborative Research Programme (ICGEB-CRP) , Italy.
She clinched the award by beating contestants from 50 countries.
By winning the grant, she is now designated, Principal Investigator for the project titled “Enzymatic Analysis of the Cellulolytic System of Ligninolytic Stenotraphmonas sp and Development of Bifunctional Chimeric Enzyme for Efficient Simultaneous Delignification and Saccharification of Lignocellulose Biomass”
The research grant application was among the three shortlisted and endorsed by ICGEB liaison office, Abuja and was evaluated at ICGEB headquarters, Italy, based on a two-tier procedure by a committee of internationally recognized experts and peer review by independent external experts.
The ICGEB-CRP grant covers purchase of equipment, consumables, training of researchers, travel and literature to ensure successful completion of the proposed project which has potentials for important outcomes on the environment and economy.
According to Olajuyigbe, “fuels from agricultural wastes are the most promising and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels based on environmental health benefits, the research in collaboration with Dr. Shams Yazdani, ICGEB, India seeks to investigate the ability of Stenotrophomonas sp. to breakdown cellulose in corn cob and sugarcane bagasse, and develop chimera of biocatalysts for simultaneous removal of lignin and breakdown of cellulose into fermentable sugars. Expected results will provide a promising and cost-effective approach to timely conversion of lignocellulose to fermentable sugars.”
Director – General, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Collaborative Research Programme ( ICGEB), Dr Lawrence Banks and Head of Fellowship Programme, Barbara Argenti , have congratulated FUTA International Grant winner, Folashade Olajuyigbe, saying it was a well deserved award.
According to them, she won the grant after a comparative evaluation of all submitted projects by a committee of 12 scientists of International Standing, who found her project worthy of the grant and eligible for funding over a three year period.
“We wish to congratulate you on receiving this grant and remain confident that your research will constitute a major contribution to the broader ICGEB scientific community,” the duo wrote in the congratulatory letter.
With these outstanding accomplishments, the image of the institution has soared in the community of universities in the country.
Vice Chancellor ( FUTA ), Professor Joseph Fuwape, said the awards will boost the image of the university, the country and spur other academics to achieve greater feats in their academic endeavours.
He stated that recipients would deliver the research projects to the admiration of the international sponsors and other stakeholders and for the benefit of humanity.
These awards further show that the country is a force to reckon with in the international academic community.
Despite the myriad of challenges facing the education system in the country, there are still good happenings coming out of it.
FUTA authorities must continue to provide the right atmosphere for more positive developments to emerge. Now that the searchlight of the country and international community are focused on it, everything legal must be done to keep the institution’s flag, as well as the country and our own Ondo State flying.
Recipients must equally be aware that they have become role models, as such successes attained must be sustained for them to move on to greater heights, as well as sustain the had won image of the institution as one to beat.
The State Government must acknowledge these feats by the institution and do everything possible to keep it on this high pedestal.
Politics of the institution being federally owned must not rear its ugly head. The pride brought is to the state and the nation, this is really what matters.
By this outstanding accomplishments, we citizens of the state can hold our heads high that one of the best tertiary institutions in the country and one acclaimed globally, resides in our sunshine state.
This should be a wake up call for other institutions in the state and the country at large.
In the same vein, students of the institution should now realise that they are fingered as one of the best globally, hence all hands must be on deck to sustain this great development. They should let intellectualism take the prime place while studying at the institution.
Indigenes of the state should use these feats and global recognition, to lend a hand to the development of the education system in the state.
It is obvious the State Government alone cannot bear the burden, hence the need for them to join the drive to further uplift our institutions to global standards.
The State Government must give concession like tax holidays, special recognition, etc, to woo wealthy individuals and corporate organisations to help in developing our education system and the entire economy in general.