The Role of Science, Technology,
Innovation, and Partnerships
in the Future of USAID
Committee on the Review of Science, Technology,
Innovation, and Partnership (STIP) for Development and
Implications for the Future of USAID
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
A Report of
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This activity was supported by Contract No. AID-A-11-00012 with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnership (STIP) For Development and Implications for the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
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COMMITTEE FOR THE REVIEW OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION, AND PARTNERSHIP (STIP) FOR DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF USAID
Michael T. Clegg (Chair), Professor Emeritus, University of California, Irvine
DeAndra Beck, Associate Dean for Research, International Studies and Programs, Michigan State University
Thomas J. Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development, Council on Foreign Relations
Gargee Ghosh, Director of Development Policy and Finance, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Julie A. Howard, Senior Advisor to the Associate Provost and Dean, International Studies and Programs, Michigan State University
Christine L. Moe, Eugene J. Gangarosa Professor of Safe Water and Sanitation, Emory University
Francis J. Ricciardone, Former U.S. Ambassador; President, American University in Cairo
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Malcolm Gillis University Professor, Rice University
Melanie Walker, Senior Advisor to the President, World Bank Group
Amos Winter, Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
POLICY AND GLOBAL AFFAIRS
Richard E. Bissell, Executive Director and Study Director
Ashley Bear, Program Officer
Michael Dorsey, Senior Program Officer
Ali Douraghy, Senior Program Officer
Gwynne Evans-Lomayesva, Senior Program Assistant
Cynthia Getner, Financial Officer
Paula Whitacre, Writing Consultant
HEALTH AND MEDICINE DIVISION
Rachel Pittluck, Research Associate
Megan Snair, Program Officer
Rachel M. Taylor, Senior Program Officer
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The creation of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1961 under the Kennedy administration consolidated several prior U.S. assistance programs. The success of the Marshall Plan in rebuilding Europe, together with earlier efforts at international disaster relief, provided the impetus for an ambitious global program aimed at poverty reduction and economic development. A second trend, also growing out of World War II, was the belief that science held the key to a prosperous future. Science and technology were widely seen as essential elements in winning the war and in transforming living standards in the United States. So it was natural that science and technology would come to be seen as powerful tools that the new agency could deploy in addressing poverty and development challenges. Early successes reinforced this view, most notably the Green Revolution, partially supported through USAID, that quickly moved many countries from the specter of starvation to one of food security. Finally, science was seen as a liberalizing and democratic force, based as it is on a respect for evidence and the empirical testing of alternative ideas to arrive at rational conclusions. This made a focus on science a natural direction for the new agency and its programs.
More than 50 years have passed since the launching of USAID. The global landscape has greatly altered, but science (and its progeny, technology and innovation) remain key elements in the USAID tool kit to foster diverse approaches to development aid. Recognizing USAID has limited capacity to address global challenges when acting alone, the agency has also come to focus on partnerships that leverage its impact and programmatic effectiveness, especially in science, technology, and innovation. This report evaluates the role of science, technology, innovation, and partnerships as implemented by USAID to actively seek out new ideas and approaches that facilitate and accelerate sustainable global development. The complexity of the USAID
organization, with its network of overseas missions complemented by an array of bureaus and central units, does not make it easier to arrive at solutions to strengthening science, technology, innovation, and partnerships (STI+P) in the development mission; this complex structure is partially conveyed by the organizational chart in Appendix A of this report.
Despite the demonstrable value of STI+P in reducing extreme poverty, promoting resilient, democratic societies, and advancing the security and prosperity of the United States, STI+Pintensive programs at USAID have waxed and waned over the years. USAID has taken a number of steps in the last decade to reinvigorate science and technology across its many operations, and to introduce approaches to innovation learned from the impact of innovation on the 21st century American economy. As one institutional change, USAID created the Global Development Lab in 2014 to identify and implement STI+P development solutions. The Lab aims to discover solutions with faster scaling and implementation, greater impact and sustainability, and a weighing of risk versus returns. Moreover, STIP is widely used throughout the agency in addressing major challenges ranging from the HIV epidemic and malaria, to agricultural development and food security, to economic and gender empowerment. When properly deployed, these tools can interact and evolve with each other at different stages of project discovery, implementation, and sustainability to strengthen an overall product or solution.
Responding to a request by USAID, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine appointed an expert committee to advise the agency on the current development potential for science, technology, innovation, and partnerships in its assistance programs. The committee examined the development context for STI+P, in particular by analyzing some leading international and philanthropic entities that also apply these approaches to major development challenges. Using existing evaluations, data, and evidence of effectiveness, the committee then analyzed USAID’s approach to STI+P programs’
design and implementation. We identified three comparative advantages of USAID relative to other players in the complex international aid landscape and recommend that USAID focus its STI+P activities to leverage these strengths. We also identified both short- and long-term actions USAID could take to increase development momentum by building stronger partnerships in the United States and developing countries for the mobilization of science, technology, and innovation as fundamental tools to reduce poverty and to advance economic and social development.
On behalf of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the committee, I would like to express our appreciation for the expertise, perspectives, and experiences shared by presenters at the committee meetings and subsequent conference calls. Committee members and staff benefitted from open communication with USAID, and the candid discussions with implementers and partners. The willingness of different stakeholders to speak to the committee regarding successes and challenges remains greatly appreciated. They are listed in Appendix D at the conclusion of the report.
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Anthony Clayton, University of the West Indies; Rita Colwell, University of Maryland; KunMo Chung, Korea Electric Power Corporation; Haile Debas, University of California, San Francisco; Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue University; Charles Gay, Greenstar Foundation; Michael E. Goldberg, Columbia University; Brenda Killen, OECD; Hiram Larew, United States Department of Agriculture (retired); Raghunath Mashelkar, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; Richard Seifman, IntraHealth International; Peter Singer, Grand Challenges, Canada; Alfred Watkins, P80 Group Foundation; Jeremy Weinstein, Stanford University; and Wendy Woods, Boston Consulting Group.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Enriqueta Bond, Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Olufunmilayo Olopade, University of Chicago. Appointed by the Academies, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Chair, Committee to Review Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnership for Development: Implications for the Future of USAID