The University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) was established in January, 1988 with a tripodal mandate of teaching, research and extension. To underscore the importance of agricultural research, seven out of the thirteen point objectives establishing UNAAB are directly related to research. In an attempt to address the research component of the tripodal mandate, the Research and Development Centre (RESDEC) was established in April, 1990. In its 19 years of existence, 223 Research Grants totaling N11.82 million were funded by RESDEC which only played a monitoring role without actively involving itself in research. By comparison, a single research project under the Competitive Agricultural Research Scheme of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria attracts a grant of up to N50.0 million.
In the University’s Strategic Plan (2000-2010), eleven goals were set in respect of its research mandate. After appraising the performance of the University in line with the set goals, it was apparent that with just a year to the end of the period, the University had not achieved much. Inability to achieve a significant number of the set goals was attributed to lack of appropriate structure and resources to adequately address the research mandate of the University.
The establishment of a Research Institute within UNAAB was considered desirable for the following reasons:
i. Research Institutes are better able to marshal human, material and financial resources to tackle research goals in a timely manner.
ii. Considering the examples of the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) and National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) both in Ahmadu Bello University, as well as that of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) in Obafemi Awolowo University, Research Institutes operating within the University System perform better in terms of research achievements. Such Institutes make greater impact on the lives of the populace.
iii. Research Institutes are able to establish stronger linkages with other national and international research institutes with related mandates.
iv. As a Land Grant University and a University of Agriculture, much is expected in terms of research breakthroughs, particularly in Agriculture and Food Production. A Research Institute would better structured to deliver on new crop varieties and improved livestock breeds, as well as the development of improved production and processing technologies.
Following the above analysis, a proposal for the transformation of RESDEC into a full-fledged Research Institute was presented to the University Management which gave provisional approval to seek Senate consideration and approval.
Senate at its 178th meeting held on Thursday, December 3, 2009, considered and approved the establishment of the Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR).