Research

Open AIR is researching knowledge governance and innovation in Africa.

Open AIR is especially interested in examining the relationships among collaborative innovation and the sharing or appropriation of knowledge through intellectual property (IP) rights and other mechanisms. Our research focuses around four priority research themes:

(1) high technology hubs

(2) informal sector innovation

(3) indigenous and local entrepreneurs

(4) metrics, laws, and policies

The first theme explores the nuances of innovation at high technology hubs, explaining how and why new businesses are likely to succeed or fail in these spaces. The second research theme is informal sector innovation, where resilience and creativity are often attributed to a shared spirit of openness and collaboration. Third, Open AIR is interested in researching and collaborating with entrepreneurs in indigenous and local communities, which have a long history of collaborative knowledge production. Open AIR’s fourth research theme explores the cross-cutting issues of governance, metrics, and public policies for measuring, valuing, facilitating and scaling up knowledge production.

In these thematic areas, the Open AIR’s current goal is to help resolve a problem at the heart of the global knowledge governance systems: how to reconcile tensions between appropriation and access, excluding and sharing, and competing and collaborating. Its core aims are to create better 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 focus calls attention to the importance and sensitivity of context in the making of IP and knowledge governance policy for sustainable development.

The Open African Innovation Research Partnership