Actors of change

Aimed at strengthening research and innovation (R&I) capacity in ACP countries, the OACPS R&I Programme intends to have a structured effect on R&I ecosystems in in its member countries by involving various actors of change. 

In order to advance science, generate knowledge, maximise impact of R&I investments, bring innovations quickly to the market and translate research and innovation results into concrete benefits for society, the innovation ecosystem must be characterised by inclusiveness, applicability and efficiency. Therefore, the Programme relies on a good level of interaction, collaboration, knowledge sharing and networking between policy makers, researchers, businesses, academia and civil society.

Key stakeholders

OACPS Secretariat

Based in Brussels (Belgium), the Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States is in charge of the implementation of the Programme, ensuringthe appropriate level of ownership from the relevant authorities in ACP countries. The OACPS is an organisation created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975. It is composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states, with all of them, apart from Cuba, signatories to the Cotonou Agreement (signed in 2000), also known as the “ACP-EC Partnership Agreement” which binds them to the European Union. There are 48 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific. The 79 member states of the ACP Group are grouped into six regions (West Africa, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific). The EU and the OACPS member countries are currently in discussion to make a new Partnership Agreement that will succeed the Cotonou Agreemen

European Commission

The European Commission is financing the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme (under the 11th EDF) and overseeing its overall implementation through the EC’s Directorate-General International Partnership (DG INTPA). The Programme capitalises on previous ACP-EU initiatives to ensure systemic change for sustainable development and greener societies.

ACP policy makers

Policy makers from national and regional public authorities, in charge of research and innovation and higher education in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, can contribute to put in place the right policy framework conditions, strengthen links between R&I skills development and private sector demands, raise R&D investments and encourage uptake of research results and rapid deployment of innovations. They can make innovation projects more inclusive, gender-sensitive, impact-oriented and aligned with national, regional and international sustainable development agendas. In the framework of the Programme, they are entitled to submit requests for services from the Policy Support Facility, in order to overcome specific R&I challenges at national, regional or multi-country level.

Grantees of the ACP Innovation Fund

Consortia receiving a grant from the ACP Innovation Fund support financially and technically ACP R&I actors (the‘third parties’) responsible for fostering a more conducive R&I environment across the OACPS member countries.

Other Actors / Target groups

Academic and educational sector

Higher education institutions and technical and vocational education and training centres and networks play a major role inbuilding the capacity of the next generation of innovators, ensuring that skills across the R&I value chain are appropriately developed and recognised, with a focus on female participation and gender equality. Societal challenges such as energy, climate change, health, sustainable food production, water supply and digital transformation that can lead to new markets for products and services rely on interdisciplinary research approaches. Academia can provide new knowledge, innovative thinking and skill development to meet these needs

Research community

National and international research institutes and researchers have a key role to play, both to improve evidence-based decision-making as well as to find solutions to urgent and increasingly complex societal and environmental challenges.

Private sector

Companies, start-ups, SMEs, incubators, investors … play a crucial role in funding, co-creating, adapting and commercialising research and innovation outputs, translating best ideas into news processes, products and services, jobs and growth.

Other international and regional R&I-related initiatives in OACPS member countries

There are many other international and regional R&I-related initiatives that are currently implemented in OACPS member countries, be they joint initiatives between the OACPS and the European Union, or initiatives led by other institutions, with an added value in the strengthening of the R&I landscape. The Programme will develop synergies with them in order to enlarge impacts in ACP countries. (other initiatives)

Civil society organisations

The involvement of CSOs in research and innovation (notably those representing and/or promoting indigenous and local communities, women and youth in R&I) is primordial to address societal needs in a holistic, inclusive and sustainable way, and to contribute to a far-reaching positive impact on society. It ensures that research and innovation activities are informed by and directed towards citizens’ needs and that their results are widely disseminated. Applying a gender lens to research and innovation will provide deeper insights, more effective programmes and more sustainable outcomes. The same is true for young people, but also indigenous and local communities whose long and close interaction with nature can efficiently complement knowledge systems based on modern science. They can contribute to develop locally grown, accessible and affordable solutions to meet market needs.


Media play a significant role in sharing information, knowledge, success stories and best practices. They can contribute to better connect researchers, industry, policy makers, civil society organisations and the public at large, by packaging research and innovation in an interesting way, translating them into people’s lives, and showing how R&I can help solve the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges.