Young people use computers at iHup, Nairobi's innovation hub for the technology community. It's an open space for technologists, investors and tech companies.

Young people at iHub, Nairobi, a gathering place for people and companies with an interest in technology and innovation. Many innovations can be of help to people living in poverty, and Sida supports the global research network Globelics, which founded the African research network Africalics 2012 in Tanzania with the aim of promoting innovation and research capacity in Africa.

Photo: Sven Torfinn/Panos

what we support


Updated: 30 September 2015

Sida supports the development of innovation systems and clusters within the bilateral and regional cooperation programmes as well as research on innovation.

Innovation has an important and relevant role for sustainable development in low- and middle-income countries. Sida regards support to innovation as not only related to science and technology, but also including ideas, technologies and processes. There is a necessity for broader participation in the process of change and Sida embraces the concept of innovation for inclusive development, engaging citizens on the demand as well as supply side of the innovation process and recognise the necessity to involve a variety of stakeholders from the early stages of innovation.

In its strategy for Sida’s support to research cooperation the Swedish government has formulated that research which through innovation can contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development should be supported.

Sida’s research cooperation portfolio for innovation support can be divided into two main types:

a. Support to innovation systems, processes and/or innovations

b. Support to research on innovation systems, processes and/or innovations

Example of support

Globelics is a worldwide network, initiated 2001, for researchers seeing innovation and capacity building as central in the development process. The overall objective of the network is to promote the understanding of how innovation processes contribute to economic development in the poorer parts of the world and to constitute a platform for South-South collaboration and knowledge sharing. The network organises an annual conference and an annual academy offering research training for PhD students. Sida is supporting a joint programme capacity building in innovation systems focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Innovation for growth

A summary broschyre based on the evaluation of Sida's support to Innovation systems and clusters. 

Innovation and knowledge are crucial factors for economic development, in high as well as low-income countries. This report aims to map and describe the support to innovation systems and clusters within Sida's research cooperation. 

Authors: Predrag Dragosavac, David Isaksson Produced by Sida and Global Reporting, November 2013.

Read the report here.

Evaluation of Sida's Support to Innovation Systems and Clusters, a Research Cooperation Initiative

This evaluation report provides an overview of ten programs in the areas of Innovation Systems and Cluster initiatives supported by Sida's Unit for Research Cooperation. The evaluation was commissioned with the objective to draw strategic knowledge from the innovation programs supported by Sida. The evaluation assesses the portfolio as a collection of "ways of working" within scientific research cooperation programs. The report highlights that support and investment in Innovation Systems can be excellent means for encouraging the use of research as a tool for development.

The report was carried out by an independent evaluation team, and it is presented in two volumes; a Main Report, which focuses on the portfolio in general, and a Collection of Individual Cases, which contains more detailed information.

Authors: Evaluation team: Amitav Rath, Bitrina Daniel Diyamett, Mario Francisco Bazán Borja, Fernando Prada Mendoza, Francisco Sagasti.Advisory and Quality Assurance: Andrew Barnett and Jacques Gaillard. Sida Evaluation 2012:5.

Read the evaluation here.

Page owner: Research Cooperation Unit

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