UK research funding for development in Nigeria

Country analysis

UK research funding for development in Nigeria

An analysis of funding and reach (2014-2019)

Adrian Bucher, Sheila Mburu, Yaso Kunaratnam, Adam Dinsmore, Callum Boyd, Alice Cross, Alice Norton and Marta Tufet

Executive Summary 

This report presents an analysis of the nature and reach of UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Wellcome funding for international development research and partnership activities in Nigeria between 2014 – 2019, positioned within the wider profile of the Nigerian national research and innovation system.

The analyses provide a baseline of UK funding and collaboration intending to improve coherence and visibility of its investments to inform future activities under the UK Government’s new and distinctive commitment to work alongside, invest in, and partner with African nations. This commitment, announced by former UK Prime Minister Teresa May in 2018, aims to establish long-term, meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships. Alongside other areas of engagement, this will lead to a broadening and deepening of UK research and innovation investments and partnerships in Nigeria. This investment will be led by the UK Government through hubs in various African nations, focused on science, technology and innovation.

UKDCR used multiple methods including portfolio-level, and global funding data analysis of UK ODA and Wellcome-funded projects, stakeholder interviews and bibliometrics to draw out high-level research trends and impacts.

Key findings from the report include:

While only a small proportion of UK funding goes to research related to Nigeria, it makes up a large proportion of research funding for the country, making it key to Nigeria’s research ecosystem. UK ODA and Wellcome research investment related to Nigeria between 2014 – 2019 totalled £665.4m on 87 research projects. However, this is reduced to an estimated £77.7m, after controlling for data limitations (awards to multi-country research projects were equally divided by the number of countries of focus). This is comparatively less than the UK funds on research to other countries in Africa (such as South Africa and Kenya). Research investments are varied – spanning all the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with strong focus on SDG 3: Good health and well-being, and projects are delivered through complex and diverse funding schemes.

UK-funded research in Nigeria has strong partnerships with Kenyan and South African as well as UK institutions. Project outputs are significant with 2,393 publications from 2017 to August 2019, with the majority of focused on medical and health sciences research. Important and broad national, regional and global reach is demonstrated from this investment in the range of case studies provided spanning Post-partum haemorrhaging, Tuberculosis diagnosis, Preparedness for infectious disease outbreaks and Tourism policy and practices.

There is opportunity for more UK-funded research and innovation in Nigeria due to its large economy and relatively strong education system, alongside poverty and fragility in certain regions. The UK currently supports many junior fellowships in Nigeria (particularly at the master’s level through the Commonwealth and Chevening scholarships) and this capacity could now be further built upon with more substantial investment. UK funders could also broaden investments to further align with Nigerian national priorities outlined in the Science Technology & Innovation (STI) roadmap.

A range of different UK funding models focused at the researcher and institution levels are provided in Nigeria allowing both bottom-up and top-down development of research priorities. However, top-down alignment with Nigerian national research priorities are more limited (at the time of the review there was no permanent in-country UK presence related to research, although this is now being developed under the ‘new partnerships with Africa’. There is also no national partnership UK funding with Nigeria, such as the Newton Fund). The UK Government’s new partnerships with Africa has currently narrow but important foundations in Nigeria which provide an exciting opportunity for expansion of activities and fulfilment of need.

Is this page helpful?

Go Back

Related Publications