A lecturer in the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Pharm. (Mrs) Uduak I. Olayemi, has been declared winner of the Board of Fellows (BOF) of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) 2021 Research Grant, which comes with a cash prize of N1 million.
Presenting the cheque to Olayemi at the BOF’s office in Lagos recently, the outgoing Chairman, BOF, Prof. (Mrs) Mbang Femi-Oyewo, congratulated her for emerging winner out of 32 applicants, following a thorough screening process by the research committee. She noted that the grant is to support her ongoing research work, which will facilitate easy completion of the project.
The awardee is a PhD student with the research topic, “Isolation and Characterisation of Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors from South Western Nigerian Plants Relevant in Parkinson’s Disease and Associated Depression”.
According to Femi-Oyewo, “The Board through its committee has worked on modalities to call for submission of research proposals and the guidelines established. Research proposals were received and assessed using external assessors by the committee. The committee has since submitted its report. The winner of the N1m BOF 2021 Research Grant is Pharm. (Mrs) U. I. Olayemi, from Obafemi Awolowo University, Department of Pharmacognosy and Faculty of Pharmacy”.
The erstwhile BOF chairman disclosed that the grant was formerly N300,000, but having considered the effect of inflation in the country and the cost of completing academic research, the committee reviewed it upward to N1 million. She further explained that the award should have been presented at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the just concluded 94th Annual National Conference of the PSN, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, but due to some personal engagements of the awardee, the Board had to shift it to a future date to allow the winner to be in attendance.
The veteran academician charged Olayemi to fly the flag of the Board as high as possible, noting that being the winner of the grant had automatically made her a flagbearer of the Board. She also assured the grantee of Board members’ availability to assist in whatever capacity in the course of her project, as the Board expects the publication of her findings in two high impact journals.
“We expect to see the result of the research in two high profile journals. Make the chairman of the Research Grant Committee and myself your mentors, because our objective is to mentor young pharmacists. We are available to guide you through”, she stated.
Femi-Oyewo also mentioned another category of award – the Best Graduating Student Award – which the Board gives to support best graduating students in their courses of study in all accredited faculties of pharmacy in Nigeria universities.
While revealing that the award comes with the sum of N50,000 and a plaque, she stated that 23 students from the accredited universities received the prize while she was in office.
Also congratulating the awardee, the Chairman, BOF Research Grant Committee, Prof. Kemi Odukoya, urged her to sustain her culture of diligence, saying that her thoroughness in adhering to the proposal guidelines earned her the award.
“This fund is a challenge for you, as all eyes are on you, your department, faculty and institution for the result,” Odukoya said.
The professor of Pharmacognosy also counselled the grantee to strive to strike a balance between her academic work and family, as one must not suffer for the other.
While charging her to plan the research work in phases, Odukoya told Olayemi that the Board expects progress report of each phase of the investigation on or before due date, as stipulated in her letter.
The awardee was also mandated to renew her practicing licence with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) as soon as possible, saying the Board required a copy of it.
In her response, Olayemi, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the BOF and the research committee members, assuring them that she would not let them down.
While acknowledging that doing research in public universities is very challenging, she said the grant would help her a great deal in completing the investigation in good time.