Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Project

The Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Partnership is a pan-African research project involving Strathmore University along with four other leading universities - the University of Ottawa in Canada, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, and the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Open 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 capitalize on open collaborative innovation strategies. 
Open AIR is currently focused on three priority research themes. The first explores the nuances of innovation at high technology hubs, explaining how and why new business are likely to succeed or fail across Africa and in Canada. The second research theme, which dovetails with the first, is informal sector entrepreneurship, where resilience and innovative practices are often attributed to a shared spirit of openness and collaboration. Finally, the network is researching and collaborating with indigenous communities, which have a long history of collaborative knowledge production. In all of these areas, Open AIR is working to create new and improved intellectual property policies, performance metrics and management practices. CIPIT is the East Africa hub for Open AIR and the research lead for the high technology hubs theme.

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