African innovation in action

Open AIR is a unique collaborative network of researchers spread across 15 African countries, Canada, and elsewhere answering two overarching questions:

  1.  How can open collaborative innovation help businesses scale up and seize the new opportunities of a global knowledge economy? and
  2. Which knowledge governance policies will best ensure that the social and economic benefits of innovation are shared inclusively?

Open-AIR-Annual-Report-Front-pageOpen AIR’s primary goal is to uncover new insights to ease tensions between IP and access to knowledge. Specifically, we aim to solve a problem at the heart of IP and innovation policy: how to reconcile tensions between appropriation and access, excluding and sharing, and competing and collaborating. In dealing with this problem, Open AIR’s research is showing how knowledge-based businesses can bypass outmoded, constrictive knowledge governance practices to capitalise on open collaborative innovation strategies.

Open AIR’s core aims are to improve our understanding of the ways knowledge-based businesses can scale up to take advantage of global opportunities, while simultaneously ensuring that the benefits of innovation are shared inclusively throughout society as a whole. Open AIR’s African-centered research calls attention to the importance and sensitivity of context in the making of IP and knowledge governance policy for sustainable development. Through improved IP policies and practices, this research will lead to more innovation that benefits more people in both developing and developed countries.

In parallel, Open AIR is also bringing Afro-centric insights and perspectives to the rest of the world. Specifically, in partnership with leading experts, institutions and funding organizations from Canada, Open AIR is building sustainable, cross-regional relationships. The continent of Africa is widely acknowledged to be at the forefront of global economic growth and shifting geopolitical power structures. To prepare for plausible futures in which Africa has leapfrogged other regions of the world with knowledge-based innovation, Open AIR is connecting new and emerging researchers in African countries with their counterparts in places such as Canada. Through mutually beneficial partnerships, as opposed to development assistance, Open AIR is recognizing Africa’s role in the global knowledge economy.

To do this, Open AIR is doing grounded research in four priority research themes.  For more information on our research, please click here.


For more information on Open AIR, including our history, click here.

For more information on our team, please click here.

For more information on our findings, please see our PublicationsPresentationsVideos, and Events pages.

The Open African Innovation Research Partnership