The ACP Innovation Fund (IF) is a key component of the OACPS Research and Innovation (R&I) Programme, aimed at strengthening R&I capacity in its African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) member countries, to unlock their innovation potential and support their transition into knowledge-based economies for sustainable development. Investments in R&I capacity are likely to pay a higher dividend, if embedded in an effective and inclusive innovation ecosystem and combined with efforts to constitute a critical mass of skilled people adapted to the labour market demand.
The Innovation Fund provides financial support for the implementation of projects advancing solutions in the following areas:
- increasing access to digital literacy, knowledge, and use of emerging technologies;
- creating or strengthening effective links between R&I skills development and labour market demand;
- establishing or enabling effective synergies in the research and innovation ecosystem, including with the private sector; facilitating conditions for technology transfer; promoting R&I uptake;
- promoting local and indigenous knowledge and its use in combination with formal knowledge systems and practices.
Following a Call for Proposals, published in October 2019, the ACP Innovation Fund is financing a number of consortia, which support ACP R&I actors (the ‘third parties’), both financially and technically, through capacity building, peer assistance, mentoring, networking, exchange of experiences, and policy advocacy.
These third parties are, for instance: academic and research institutions; university spin-offs; VET suppliers; organisations representing indigenous and local communities; agencies and associations working for gender equality in R&I; national science, technology and innovation agencies; NGOs; innovation support organisations (i.e. tech hubs, innovation labs and technology transfer offices); incubators and start-ups.