UniPort Gets World Bank Grant On Oilfield Chemicals

Profs Jonathan Mba, NkemKhumbal, Maria Nazare, V-C, Prof Ajienka  and Prof Raja Ram
Following the Desk Evaluation of two proposals it submitted to the World Bank, the University of Port Harcourt has won a grant that would enable it set up a Centre of Excellence in Oilfield Chemicals at the Institute of Petroleum Studies.
The African Centre of Excellence (ACE) Project Steering Committee (PSC) met in Dakar, Senegal on 28th October, 2013, following which the final selection and presentation of the outcome of the rigorous Desk Evaluation of universities and research institutes that applied for the highly competitive grants were made.
The grant, which was implemented under the auspices of the Association of African Universities (AAU), would be the highest outside intervention in funding available to the University. On the whole, 53 Proposals were submitted for Desk Evaluation by universities in West and Central Africa.
The University of Port Harcourt entered two proposals pursuant to the establishment of two Centres of Excellence in Agriculture and Oilfield Chemicals. Of the lot, the Evaluators chose 15 tertiary institutions for the coveted grant worth millions of dollars. University of Port Harcourt was awarded the grant in the category of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
A statement signed by the Coordinator of Communications and Information Technology Department of AAU, Abigail Nyamson, disclosed that seven universities in Nigeria were lucky recipients of the coveted awards to pursue researches in health, agriculture, science and engineering. The successful Nigerian universities are: Redeemers University, Mowe, Ogun State for health, African University of Science and Technology, Abuja for STEM; Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State for Agriculture; University of Jos, Plateau State for health; University of Benin, Edo State for health and University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State for STEM. 
A further breakdown of the figures shows that universities in Ghana got three grants, while Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Togo got one grant each. It would be recalled that the ACE Project Coordinator, Professor Jonathan Mba led a high-powered delegation comprising the Managing Director of Botho University, Botswana, Professor Sheela Raja Ram, President European Universities Association (EUA), Professor Maria Helena Nazare and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan, USA., NkemKhumbah to assess the preparedness of the University to mount the programme on Friday, 18th October, 2013.
A visibly delighted Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ajienka, expressed gratitude to the Project Steering Committee and the AAU for extending the grant to the University, promising that the purpose for which it was made would be realized to attract further grants to the University. 
Said he, “I am very enthused to receive news of such an important grant to this University for which we remain eternally grateful to the Almighty for his abundant grace in seeing our proposal through. This grant confirms us as an African Centre of Excellence in Oilfield Chemical Studies and the IPS as an African Centre of Excellence in Petroleum Studies. It is a very fitting development as we prepare to celebrate the Institute at ten years of uninterrupted academic activities.
“We dedicate this grant to TOTAL E&P Limited for the company's novel innovative thinking in higher education in Nigeria. I also wish to dedicate it to our 5th Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs for his foresight, wisdom and resilience in establishing the IPS in 2003.
“I wish to thank all the line officers, who worked very hard to make the grant possible against serious competition from other institutions. This monumental achievement calls for gratitude to the Almighty and celebration,” the Vice-Chancellor said. He specially thanked the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Bene Willie Abbey and the Director of the Centre of Research Management, Professor OnyewuchiAkaranta and the Faculties of Engineering and Agriculture for working hard to make the grant possible.   
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