Pathbreaking Research
(2011 to 2014)

Open AIR’s initial research had two interrelated prongs:

  1. case studies of collaborative approaches to innovation and intellectual property (IP) across diverse sectors in nine countries (Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda)
  2. future foresight scenario-building for the future of knowledge and innovation on the continent

The research generated two books: an anthology of case studies, Innovation and Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa (UCT Press, 2014); and a future scenarios book, Knowledge and Innovation in Africa: Scenarios for the Future (Open AIR, 2013). A series of Briefing Notes was also produced, detailing research findings and their policy implications.


Additionally, we developed four feature videos, on the following:

  1. building the network
  2. the research case studies
  3. case study findings on collaborative innovation and IP in Africa
  4. scenarios for the future of knowledge and IP in Africa

(All Open AIR published outputs, including our videos, are available under Creative Commons (CC) licences that allow a wide range of permission-free follow-on uses, including copying, sharing, and making adaptations.)

As had been the case with our precursor network ACA2K, this phase of Open AIR included us actively engaging in national, continental, and international outreach; we staged events throughout the continent, and made presentations at gatherings around the world, spanning both developing and developed countries. Our books, videos, and Briefing Notes were used extensively in this outreach work.

Similar to the practices during ACA2K, this phase of Open AIR’s work also produced significant engagement with policy players at African national, continental, and global levels. For example, Open AIR participated in the IP policy reform processes in South Africa, in African Union (AU) innovation policy events, and in WIPO Development Agenda events in both Africa and Europe.

Cape Town 2013 logo

A landmark moment for Open AIR’s outreach efforts was the network’s hosting of the combined 3rd Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest and Open AIR Conference on Innovation and IP in Africa in Cape Town in December 2013. The combined events drew delegates from 54 nations, including 23 African countries.

The Cape Town gatherings were followed by key moments of engagement with international norm-setting and policymaking actors, during two events in May 2014. Open AIR representatives presented the scenarios findings to a European Commission (EC) meeting in Brussels, and the case study findings to a side event of the 13th session of the WIPO Committee on Development and IP (CDIP/13) in Geneva.

Back to History


The Open African Innovation Research Partnership