Background, objectives and tools


Research and innovation (R&I) are vital drivers of sustainability.

They can accelerate the green and digital transitions, strengthen climate resilience and crisis preparedness, and unleash the productivity growth potential, increase competitiveness and social dividends, thus contributing to the achievement of the UN SDGs.

A growing number of OACPS member countries incorporate R&I in their national development agendas, but they need to increase the performance of their R&I investments, systems, and policies, enhance their skills development mechanisms, and foster collaboration opportunities between R&I institutions, businesses, academia and civil society. Meaningful and effective R&I capabilities depend ultimately on the innovation ecosystem and not merely on access to scientific knowledge. R&I should be seen in a systemic perspective where actors are interdependent, integrated and fully participative.

Research and innovation have long being recognised by the EU and the OACPS member countries as important aspects of their cooperation, and have been so far supported by three consecutive Intra-ACP programmes aimed at strengthening research and innovation systems (see Previous programmes in a nutshell). 

Building upon their results, the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme expands the support provided, and helps OACPS member countries tap into their unexploited R&I potential and step up their innovation performance. 


The overall objective of the Programme is to unlock the inclusive innovation potential of OACPS member countries and support their transition into knowledge-based economies to accelerate sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The Programme is relevant to the United Nations Agenda 2030 and contributes primarily to the progressive achievement of SDG 9, but also promotes progress towards all its 17 SDGs.

The three specific objectives of the Programme are:

  • foster a conducive R&I environment across the ACP countries;

  • facilitate access to R&I knowledge, transfer and cross-fertilisation throughout the ACP countries; and

  • enhance the quality of R&I policies and systems in ACP countries.


The programme is based on three main tools:

  • An Innovation Fund to finance projects advancing solutions to create a better environment for innovation (increased access to digital literacy and emerging technologies, R&I skills adapted to the labour market demand, improved technology transfer and R&I uptake, promotion of local and indigenous knowledge …);

  • A Policy Support Facility to enhance the quality and efficiency of R&I policies, strategies and systems, through tailor-made and on-demand services delivered by high-level experts;

  • A web portal enabling R&I professionals from OACPS member countries to meet, network, and exchange information, experiences and good practices.