The Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos in partnership with the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre for Excellence for Urbanization and Habitable Cities, has called for Multi-disciplinary Research (MDR) approach to projects in universities across Africa.
They also sought a robust and more unified methodology to researches with vast knowledge on various fields to boost capacity in Africa.
Speaking at a capacity- building workshop held at the Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Founding Director, Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos, Prof. Timothy Nubi said, the state of housing infrastructure in Lagos state, necessitated a study during COVID-19 that required the use of MDR.
With the need for social distancing and most occupants staying between seven to 10 people in a house that doesn’t allow social distancing, a project conducted to identify the challenges involved a historian, musicologist, sociologist and this has further exposed others to their interests in other fields.
“When COVID-19 broke out, we thought it was the end of the world as a lot of people died in thousands. But when the Historian told us it has happened before, we realised that the world still existed afterwards. And so we see that apart from medicine, there is a place of History that came into play to comfort people so we know this is not the end, we can fight it.
“As researchers are working on the vaccine and looking at how we can continue our lives, we see that MDR tells us that we are all working together towards one goal and that is to create a better society.
“Gone are the days where doctors think they could do it all alone. Researches are done for malaria and while that is on going, we should also look at how we can make our environment safe to prevent it from breeding mosquitoes; that is multi-disciplinary approach. So we say enough of doing research in isolation, researchers must come together to solve societal problems, by working across fields.”
Project Coordinator, ARUA –UK Research and Innovation, University of Ghana, Dr. Emmanuel Abbey, noted that there are no MDR researches in sciences done in Africa, hence the centre is keen on helping more experienced researchers groom the early career researchers. Ensure that the stronger universities mentor the weaker ones to build capacity. “ARUA will also come with a African doctoral school to increase the quality and quantity of researches done in Africa.”
A professor of Chemistry, University of Lagos, Babajide Alo, noted that the MDR seeks to improve collaborations, which is very evident in Tertiary Education Trust Fund’s choice of funding. “There is a pyramid shift for Tetfund, they would not release funds to universities that do not engage in MDR. Hence, an admission to post-graduate studies must be revisited as academics is changing; someone may have a background in economics and choose to study Urban and Regional Planning, all that matters is the application of knowledge.”
While Director, Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, noted that the institute is constantly engaging in MDR hence students across disciplines are admitted.
“We also encourage multi-universities collaborations, this strengthens the different orientation they bring.