Professor Dulcie Mulholland of the Department of Chemistry, University of Surrey, United Kingdom (UK) has encouraged researchers to prioritise quality of research over quantity of research.
She made this remark while delivering a paper on Unlocking High-Impact Grants for Meaningful Contribution during the Opening Session of a 2-day workshop organised by the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Idi-Araba, Lagos. With the theme: Herbal Product Drug Discovery & Development, the hybrid workshop commenced on Monday, September 25, 2023.
In her presentation, the Professor of Organic Chemistry stressed the importance of researchers to acquire appropriate skills, pursue appealing and specific topics, as well as publish in reputable international journals.
While sharing tips based on her many years of experience of grant applications, Professor Mulholland offered insights about who can get grants; where to get grants and funding partners; how to create and form a team of members who would contribute immensely to the project as well as preparing and applying for grants.
She rounded off the lecture on the issue of intellectual property, noting that the following should be clearly stated in the proposal for research projects: who will pay for patenting, what will happen when patenting is generated, where and how results will be accessed as well as how results will be published. Lastly, she shared a few websites where researchers can get grants from.
Delivering another paper on Commercialisation of a Natural Product: A Case Study of the Development of an Organic Botanical Plant Protection Product from Larix, Prof. Mulholland used a product: Larixyne® to illustrate the steps involved in developing a commercial product from a natural product.
Larixyne® is an agrochemical currently undergoing field trials for the treatment of downy mildew on grapevines. It was developed by researchers at the University of Surrey along with other collaborators.
Another speaker, Professor Abimbola Sowemimo of the Department of Pharmacognosy made a presentation on Translational Research: The University of Lagos Pharmacognosy Model Herbal Clinic Experience.
In her presentation, she explained that translational research is an approach to research which seeks to produce more meaningful and applicable results. According to her, translational research is carried out with the goal of translating scientific discoveries made in the laboratories, clinic, or out on the field into new treatments and approaches to medical care.
Dr. Sowemimo pointed out that this sort of research helps with improving the health of the population; encourages multidisciplinary collaboration among laboratory and clinical researchers; incorporate the desires and health needs of the public as well as support the adoption of best medical and health practices.
She explained the importance of translational research by pointing out how the University of Lagos Pharmacognosy Model Herbal Clinic has been able to carry out translational research with the production of its anti-cancer teas, antidiabetic teas, antistress teas, immune booster teas, slimming capsules, among others, from herbs that have undergone clinical trials.
The representative of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, OON, FAS, at the event, Director of the D. K. Olukoya Central Research and Reference Laboratories, UNILAG, Professor Wellington Oyibo felicitated with the Department and Faculty for organising the workshop. He noted that research can no longer be done for research sake, adding that “it needs to be translated and commercialised. Research should be for the people, community and nation. There is a need to come together and leapfrog herbal products to the market”.
The first day of the 2-day Workshop featured a question & answer session and delivery of goodwill messages by the Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Professor Gloria Ayoola; Head, Department of Pharmacognosy, Professor Sunday Adesegun; as well as immediate past Deputy Vice–Chancellor (Academics & Research), Prof. Oluwole Familoni, FAS.