2016 saw Open AIR moving “From Project to Partnerships”.

Open AIR’s primary goal is to uncover new insights in the balance between intellectual property (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 in which 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 bringing insights and perspectives to the rest of the world, learning from what is happening and what works in Africa. There is significant debate in academia and among policy-makers as to whether IP policies in the developed world are helping or hindering innovation. The continent of Africa is widely acknowledged to be at the forefront of global economic growth and shifting geopolitical power structures. The world will be able to learn from African innovation that is happening often in the absence of strict IP enforcement in people’s day-to-day lives.

To encourage such learning from Africa, Open AIR, in partnership with leading experts, institutions and funding organizations from Canada, is building sustainable, cross-regional relationships. To prepare for plausible futures in which knowledge-based innovation becomes increasingly prominent in Africa, Open AIR is connecting new and emerging researchers in African countries with their counterparts in places such as Canada so that Africans conducting groundbreaking research on their continent will play a more prominent role in global knowledge production. Through mutually beneficial research partnerships, Open AIR is acknowledging Africa’s role in the global knowledge economy.

Read the 2016 report online. Click in the window below to view fullscreen, or download a PDF.