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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
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7

Strategic Opportunities for STI+P

The committee was asked, in its statement of task, to provide advice on longer-term opportunities to maximize U.S. impact on development outcomes through the mobilization of science, technology, innovation, and partnerships (STI+P). It focused on three broad, high-impact areas that build on U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) strengths: scaling, sustainability and capacity-building, and gender equality.

The committee chose scaling as one of development’s greatest opportunities.1 Across the agency, USAID has put high priority on learning from private- and public-sector scaling experiences and applying them to meeting development needs. An innovation hurdle persists at the pilot or seed stage, although some examples provide evidence of progress to the next level of “transition to scale.” USAID needs to draw greater attention to these successes, such as the meningitis vaccine in North Africa.2 In evaluating innovations for transition to scale, sustainability is an important aspect. Who will pay once the development funding ends? Will it be a private-sector source? Will a national government provide resources? This is one meaning of sustainability, in the context of scaling innovations, as distinguished from the sustainability of laws, institutions, and systems referenced under capacity-building.

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1 Scaling is defined in the literature as “expanding, replicating, adapting and sustaining successful policies, programs or projects in geographic space and over time to reach a greater number of people.” A. Hartmann and J. Linn, “Scaling Up: A Framework and Lessons for Development Effectiveness from Literature and Practice,” Wolfensohn Center Working Paper No. 5. Brookings Institution, 2008. See also the presentation titled “Innovation Policies for Inclusive Development: Scaling up Inclusive Innovations,” https://www.oecd.org>innovation>inno/.

2 R. Gordon, J-A. Rottingen, and S. Hoffman, The Meningitis Vaccine Project. Global Health Institute, Harvard University, September 15, 2014.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
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Second, a reinvigorated focus on capacity-building reflects new opportunities for science, technology, and innovation (STI) to accelerate social and economic transformation in order to sustain progress. Sustainability requires the domestic development of human and institutional resources capable of capturing and applying science and technology to each country’s needs. While the committee links sustainability to capacity-building for purposes of this discussion, there is no question that sustainability of innovations related to scaling, as discussed above, is closely related.

As a third strategic opportunity, gender equality and women’s empowerment captures the imperative of ensuring the equitable participation of women in economic and social development, and expanding women’s opportunities to lead the way to better living conditions through improvements in education, health, and agriculture, and access to technology and economic opportunities.

All three strategic directions require time to bring institutional innovations to fruition and to test and evaluate them, in order to provide a significant new level of development effectiveness. Both USAID and its external overseers in the administration and Congress will need to look at the time frame allowed to USAID to undertake such major reforms.

SCALING

Scaling is part of a broader process (see Figure 7-1). A new development solution begins as a pilot project with limited impact. Learning from this experience through monitoring and evaluation (M&E) creates knowledge, which feeds back into concept modification or new concept development. This feedback loop in turn can scale a concept or project through expanding, replicating, adapting, and sustaining success.

Scaling involves two types of possible errors: “type 1 errors,” in which no or too little scaling takes place, and “type 2 errors,” characterized by wrong scaling. Type 1 errors are often a by-product of limited project funding cycles. Given that the average time for scaling a broad application is 15 years,3 inadequate resources or adequate resources over an insufficient time horizon may generate type 1 errors. It is im-

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3 L. Cooley, and J.F. Lynn, Taking Innovations to Scale: Methods, Applications and Lessons. 2014, p. 14.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

portant to educate policy makers on scaling realities. There is a mismatch between the prevailing development financing cycles (at USAID and its many partners) and realistic time to scale. Scaling may be severely constrained if the implications of funding-cycle mismatches are not thoroughly considered.

Finding 7.1: The average time for scaling up to broad application is 15 years, and the innovation- learning–scaling-up process is non-linear. Inadequate resources or adequate resources over an insufficient time horizon may prevent an innovation from realizing its full potential.

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FIGURE 7-1: The links of innovation, learning, and scaling up.
SOURCE: Adapted from Cooley and Linn, 2014, Fig. 1, p. 2.

As one example in USAID, the Global Development Lab works to scale development innovation through the Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) effort (described in Chapter 5) and also by working with technical bureaus to scale priority technologies and innovations, for example, climate-resilient maize in collaboration with the Bureau for Food Security. Significantly, not every innovation will, or even should, aspire to scale. Former USAID Chief Scientist Alex Dehgan described the Lab’s role in scaling as follows:

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

The original vision was primarily focused on science and technology…but we quickly realized the value of creating an integrated pipeline that would open the agency to novel co-design and co-creation, harnessing the democratization of science, technology, and engineering, leading to the creation of a few thousand new disruptive breakthroughs over the next decade, 10% of which would get to a meta-level of scale, and perhaps 2–3 could be transformative globally at the scale effect of oral rehydration salts (as a technology) or the green revolution (as a system). To achieve that, we required not only the new innovations, but the ability to bring them to scale, including through the private sector.4

With 90 percent of innovations failing to scale, USAID has much to learn from those who tried but found some barrier to success.

Other parts of the agency also have significant scaling research and activities underway. Within the Bureau for Global Health, for example, the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact (CII) “applies business-minded approaches to the development, introduction and scale-up of health interventions to accelerate impact against the world’s most important health challenges.”5 Several of the innovations funded through the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge, discussed in Chapter 5, have begun to go to scale, including the Odón Device, a low-cost instrument to assist with childbirth complications. Becton Dickinson, a Fortune 500 medical technology company, has licensed it as a commercial venture.6

The Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3) is leading some of the agency’s major research on scaling. For example, within the Office of Energy and Infrastructure Programs, the Climate Technology Initiative Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN), of which USAID is a partner, connects clean energy businesses

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4 C. Dunning, “USAID Global Development Lab Q&A with Alex Dehgan”, http://www.cgdev.org/blog/what-future-usaid%E2%80%99s-global-development-lab-interview-alex-dehgan, August 18, 2014.

5 USAID, Idea to Impact: A Guide to Introduction and Scale of Global Health Innovations, 2015; https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1864/Idea-to-Impact_Jan-2015-508.pdf.

6Final Report of the International Expert Panel review of Grand Challenges Canada, 2015.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

with financing. CTI PFAN serves as the bridge between companies seeking financing and those seeking to invest. Entrepreneurs and developers receive support in how to create and present a viable business proposal, with the understanding that a rigorous process will screen out those that are not financially sound. 7

The Bureau for Food Security (BFS), which leads Feed the Future, has expanded funding to scale promising agricultural technologies since 2012, and recently reviewed elements contributing to successful scaling of agricultural technologies through five case studies involving the private sector, including the Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags described in Chapter 5.8 In addition to ensuring that the innovation in question meets user needs and capacity, the common threads in these cases include ensuring profit levels along the value chain to mitigate risk, co-creating supply and demand, determining the role of the public sector in advance, and giving early and sufficient attention to the coordination of partnerships.

The E3 and BFS examples point to the need to focus not only on the innovation but also on research and learning. Feedback may lead to scaling or ultimately point to opting not to do so. But the option not to go forward with scaling should be accompanied by a willingness to learn from such setbacks.

Finding 7.2: Scaling is a critical and pervasive challenge for development agencies, foundations, and governments. USAID is expanding research to understand key elements that contribute to scaling and the implications for USAID and other development agencies. Academic research exists, but it is sometimes difficult to implement in practice. The development innovation initiatives are many and are often more useful to implementation. The global Grand Challenges community, of which USAID is an anchor partner, has an annual learning and evaluation meeting, and sharing lessons on scaling is a key part. USAID is also

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7 Background is available at http://cti-pfan.net/about/#a_about_us.

8 Further information is available from the BFS Scaling Innovations Workshop, July 13, 2016: “Review of Successful Scaling or Agricultural Technologies, Case Study Summaries—Draft Report, July 13, 2016”; and “Scaling Agricultural Technologies,” https://feedthefuture.gov/sites/default/files/resource/files/ftf_factsheet_fsicscaling_nov2013.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

expanding investments in institutional innovations like DIV and accelerated partnerships with public and private entities to accelerate scaling of priority technologies. The dissemination and uptake of technology is driven less by aid, and more by markets, which in turn suggests that a valuable way to accelerate this process is to further reduce the barriers to trade and investment.

SUSTAINABILITY AND CAPACITY-BUILDING

Sustainability as a strategic STI+P capacity-building issue refers to the capacity of a local system—including public and private actors—to discover, nurture, and continue scaling an innovation without depending on external donor assistance. Strong systems and partnerships are keys to building domestic market demand and the ability to finance operations.

One of the reasons why many technology transfer programs have failed is that technology is not a culturally neutral solution readily inserted into different societies. A technology does not just involve physical equipment. It also embodies the technical capacity; educational, training, and knowledge systems; infrastructure; and human capital to determine how that technology is understood, utilized, maintained, applied, and extended into new solutions. It is important to base STI+P programs on this broader understanding of technology.

It is also important to understand the potential social, political, and economic consequences of technological change. Technology can greatly improve productivity, increase resource-use efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and resolve constraints, but still be resisted in circumstances where the change would threaten vested interests or displace labor. The loss of labor can create serious problems in countries with a slender skill base and low rates of job creation in other sectors. It may also be the basis for the politics of patronage, as jobs may be distributed by the parties in power.9

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9 This was evident in the Science and Technology Policy Instruments Project conducted by 10 research teams from developing nations. The STPI project, which was supported by the Canadian International Development Center in the 1970s, was well documented by policy research reports. Although the project was “action-oriented,” the final returns of the policy research have shown that

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

Sustainability in STI+P also refers to assisting partner countries to build scientific capacity, through training individuals and strengthening institutions of higher education and research, in order to foster a vibrant local culture of science, innovation, and problem-solving. While some interest has emerged in recent years among USAID program planners, that interest remains very small compared with decades ago. A recent review by the USAID Board for International Food and Agricultural Development of investment patterns in research capacity concluded, as its first recommendation, that “the highest impact effort USAID could undertake would be to re-establish—with modern tools and capabilities—a robust, long-term institutional capacity-building initiative in at least one higher education institution in each Feed the Future country.”10

Innovation and problem-solving require science and technology training for emerging professionals and institutional capacity-building to sustain their careers. USAID Forward builds on the agency’s longstanding commitment to improve knowledge, skills, infrastructure, and processes in the countries where the agency works—in other words, to build capacity. That being said, capacity development has taken many forms in USAID’s past 50 years, from providing scholarships that brought thousands of developing-country students to the United States each year to earn advanced degrees to large-scale in-country training to a more systematic approach through a Human and Institutional Capacity Framework.11 The agency often expresses the goal of strengthening local organizations and institutions, but implementation remains uneven. Capacity-building in host countries is inevitably a shared responsibility among all bilateral and multilateral donors, and USAID needs to ensure its ambitions mesh, most importantly, with those of the host country and then with other donors.

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commitment and actions by decision makers were much more important than the research reports generated by the project in those participating nations.

10 Further information is available at http://www.aplu.org/projects-and-initiatives/international-programs/bifad/BIFAD_Library/bifad-human-and-institutional-development-report/file, p. 2.

11 Available at https://usaidlearninglab.org/library/human-and-institutional-capacity-development.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

The best capacity-building is linked to solving actual problems. This nuance provides USAID with a significant opportunity in its “problem-solving” programs (such as Grand Challenges and DIV) to ensure that the measurable outcomes of those programs reinforce capacity-building goals. Moreover, rapid changes in science and technology call for continual, targeted capacity-building. From the benefits of mobile applications to the perils caused by the rise of zoonotic diseases, countries need a trained and equipped workforce at all levels and in all sectors. Public and private organizations need the infrastructure to take advantage of these advances—reliable power supplies, computing technology, drug storage, efficient transportation—as well as the capabilities to create and maintain open, sustainable institutional processes to provide products and services to the people who need them.

As two examples of many, the committee spoke with representatives from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).12 Despite the organizations’ different structures and missions (EMBRAPA, more than four decades old, has become a global leader in tropical agriculture research; AIMS focuses on student development, as described in Box 2-4), they echoed several common themes related to STI capacity-building:

  • Developing-country youth have tremendous interest in acquiring the education and skills to solve local problems. The opportunity for beginning scientists and technologists to be exposed to state-of-the-art ideas and thought leaders leads to long-term transformation in their own lives and in the work they achieve over the next many decades. In addition to literacy and numeracy at one end of the spectrum, and Ph.D. and postdoctoral training at the other, there is a need for trained technicians, masters-level professionals, and others who can problem-solve, apply technological tools, maintain infrastructure, and otherwise ensure STI development moves forward. The value of technical training at technikons, community colleges, and professional schools cannot be overstated. Too few donors give at-

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12 Committee interviews with Mauricio Lopes, EMBRAPA; Thierry Zomahoun and Neil Turok, AIMS, August 17, 2016.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
  • tention to the powerful role that these institutions play worldwide in STI+P workforce development.
  • Host-country governments and other institutions recognize the value and are directing their own resources to invest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) scholarships and other training. They do not expect an outside agency to shoulder the burden, but strategic investments by USAID and other funders are critical to leveraging additional support.
  • Capacity-building also involves creating opportunities for those trained, whether in the North or the South, to apply their newly acquired knowledge. For example, AIMS is establishing positions for junior faculty at its Centers of Excellence. EMBRAPA is using its own resources to maintain ongoing collaboration with U.S., European, and, more recently, Asian researchers.

USAID does address capacity, but these efforts are not well coordinated across the agency. For example, the Capable Partners Program strengthens the operational and technical capacity of local organizations, including nongovernmental organizations and businesses, in such areas as advocacy, self-assessment, and field research. The Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project, coordinated by the Office of Health Systems within the Bureau of Global Health, operates in 20 countries to strengthen the health care workforce. As another example, the Office of Climate Change coordinates EC-LEDS (Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies). In Vietnam, EC-LEDS partnered with the Ministry of Construction on a national code for energy efficiency, then worked to train ministry staff to monitor compliance.

Another aspect of sustainability for STI+P is improving the enabling environment of regulatory, trade, and investment policies conducive to innovation and adaptation of socially beneficial technologies, such as those related to intellectual property. Such efforts have compound benefits. They mobilize external private-sector resources and skills in the innovation and deployment of key technologies, and contribute to the creation of a local environment more favorable to indigenous innovation and technology development.

Regulatory capacity-building and reform to address public-sector policy making can make it easier and more attractive for academic insti-

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

tutions and private actors to put their minds to the problems of the poor. For example, more investments in regional, sustainable approaches to clinical trial research and regulation in low-income nations would support the development of vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics for neglected and emerging infectious diseases.13 USAID, given its own experience with strengthening institutions through governance programs, could develop more options to increase aid effectiveness. It could also draw upon the knowledge and active advisors associated with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Effective Institutions Platform. Policy-making and the overall enabling environment are keys for STI+P. Likewise, efforts to support information and communication technology (ICT) regulatory and policy-making capacity in low-income countries could help foster competition, new business models, and increased private investment in infrastructure and services. With broader access, ICTs offer opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of government services and stimulate networking and economic development in low infrastructure and rural environments. To address this, USAID could either expand its expertise (see Chapter 8) or expand its partnerships with U.S. government agencies with the capacity to address this need.

USAID, working with local governments and other partners, could help create an enabling environment for sustainable access to science, technology, and innovation. Clearly, it takes a combination of host-government leadership and coordination of many donors to achieve optimal investment levels for each stakeholder in this complex issue. For STI to improve agricultural yields, advance girls’ access to education, or help fight disease, it must be accessible to those who need it. In too many situations, the solutions to poverty exist, but they cannot reach the people who need them owing to neglect, disincentives, social practices, or dysfunctional institutions. In an era of rampant commoditization, physical shortages are much less common than the lack of accessibility.

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13 The African Regulatory Harmonization Initiative is a recent example. See also T.J. Bollyky, I.M. Cockburn, and E. Berndt, Bridging the gap: Improving clinical development and the regulatory pathways for health products for neglected diseases, Clinical Trials, 7, p. 719 (2010).

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

Likewise, the market for technology and innovation must reach sufficient scale for economic sustainability of development and delivery. USAID can support effective intellectual property management and pricing strategies that increase the affordability of technologies in poor countries. USAID can also help advance the development of local supply chains to deliver those innovations through community-based, local commercial, and government partners. USAID needs to ensure that these new partnership initiatives are embedded in the fabric of missions’ Country Development Cooperation Strategies (CDCS). For example, Grand Challenges and DIV will only have an impact if the best solutions are deployed at scale in developing countries. Addressing these issues will entail close collaboration with national authorities, mission directors and embassy personnel, and a wide range of stakeholders.

The United States has devoted substantial resources to delivering treatment and sustenance to the world’s poor through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Feed the Future program, among other efforts. But USAID has few projects that focus on investing in scientific research capacity, regulatory oversight, and training that would empower low-income country researchers to produce scientific research and quality data, collaborate, and address their own health and development needs. Such investments would advance existing U.S. global health and development initiatives and develop a more sustainable base for STI programs in these countries. One of the few examples frequently cited by USAID is the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program, described elsewhere in this report.14 More frequent use of modest funding would likewise help engage female scientists, as exemplified by the AWARD (African Women for Agricultural Research and Development)15 program partially supported by USAID. The program supports fellowships, mentorships, and leadership development.

Innovative finance—whether pooled insurance for the poor or securitized debt for those with assets—can generate capital for invest-

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14 See also USAID Research and Development Progress Report, FY 2015, (2016), p. 20.

15 Background information is available at http://awardfellowships.org.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

ments that benefit the common good.16 Indeed, attention to the health of financial systems is an essential aspect of making development sustainable. The needs of each country vary a great deal, and it will require the knowledge of host-government institutions and a range of external aid/financial institutions to get it right. Generally speaking, the needs fall into two categories: the finance of innovation (i.e., nongrant finance) and other financial innovations such as development impact bonds. Given the desire of global investors to find mutually beneficial program niches in emerging markets, specific kinds of instruments expand in variety every day. Although USAID is not primarily a financial institution or lender, it can bring together borrowers and lenders, as well as provide loan guarantees. USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA), administered through the E3 Bureau, is one such mechanism, and its capacity has expanded significantly in the last decade. The DCA uses loan guarantees to encourage local financial institutions to lend to underserved sectors and borrowers. From 1999 to 2014, DCA’s guarantees resulted in more than 165,000 loans and $3.7 billion in credit.17 But this barely touches the global potential. Innovative finance is a potential $2.5 trillion industry, according to Rockefeller Foundation estimates, essential to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, and USAID can play a small but valuable role in filling the gap.18

USAID’s partners also show how long-standing capacity-building can be mobilized in a crisis. As one example, the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium (funded by the National Institutes of Health [NIH]), consisting of universities, small- to medium-sized biotech companies, and the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone, had worked together on Lassa fever.19 When Ebola emerged, the research program and linkages were already in place. Rapidly, the partners sequenced the Ebola

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16 Georgia Levenson Keohane and Saadia Madsbjerg, The innovative financial revolution: Private capital for the common good, Foreign Affairs, 95(4).

17 Development Credit Agency Impact Brief, https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1865/DCA_2014_Impact_Brief.pdf.

18 See https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/innovative-finance/.

19 Robert Garry, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Rapid Medical Countermeasure Response to Infectious Diseases: Enabling Sustainable Capabilities through Ongoing Public- and Private-Sector Partnerships: Workshop Summary, 2016, Ch. 7.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

genome and developed the first rapid diagnostic immunoassay, which received expedited authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization. The NIH Fogarty International Center also has made significant investments in sub-Saharan medical education through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative and the Nursing Educational Partnership Initiative. In addition to support to institutions in 12 countries, the initiatives train junior faculty in order to develop the next generation of African researchers.20

Other ideas to augment existing programs with a focus on science and technology include developing a pool of research funds for host-country scientists, proposal-writing mentoring, building peer-review systems for research awards, co-hosting local scientific conferences, building volunteer corps of retired U.S. scientists to spend time mentoring scientists in host countries, and developing STEM curricula. Investments in research by host-country scientists also improve outreach, engagement, and adoption. In USAID, as well as through other development platforms, the payoff from supporting individual scientists appears strong not only in terms of innovations but also in the adoption of scientific methods—peer review, reproducibility, collaboration, and disclosure. The many relatively low-cost, but potentially high-reward, investments in science and scientists also have parallels in the realm of technology.

Finding 7.3: USAID has underinvested in the scientific research capacity, regulatory oversight, and training that would empower lower-income country researchers to produce scientific research and reliable data, collaborate with researchers globally, and address their own health and development needs.

Finally, USAID can also contribute to capacity-building by marshal-ling its evaluation resources to determine how to measure what works. Tallying up the numbers of people trained or the number of new technologies are not effective metrics. No single metric exists, but potential indicators include an analysis of patents and/or publications from developing-country scientists, funded researchers, developing-country

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20 Additional information is available at https://www.fic.nih.gov/Programs/Pages/medical-education-africa.aspx.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

institutions of higher learning offering science and technology curricula, or research networks and consortia that involve developing-country researchers. USAID may be able to capture new approaches to higher education metrics from the World Bank–African Development Bank partnership in the Africa Centers of Excellence (ACE) project, and the metrics used there for selection of universities and gauging performance.21

GENDER EQUALITY AND FEMALE EMPOWERMENT

USAID, like other international development organizations, recognizes gender equality and female empowerment as core development objectives, key to the realization of fundamental human rights and necessary for the achievement of sustainable development. An abundant literature documents the challenges facing women and girls around the world that touch upon almost every aspect of life. The Human Development Report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) quantifies the loss to Africa from the gender inequality gap at $95 billion per year, owing to unequal legal rights, social norms, and discrimination in economic participation.22 Despite these great challenges, there is also positive change, as countries and individuals recognize the benefits of gender equality and female empowerment, such as economic growth and increased competitiveness; improved agricultural productivity and food security; and lower mortality rates, disease incidence, and malnutrition. STI+P at USAID is recognized for its value as a programming tool for greater gender equality and women’s empowerment as outcomes, and at the same time engagement of women and men is needed to advance development with STI+P as an outcome.

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21 See Chapter 2 of this report and World Bank background, http://www.projects.worldbank.org/P126974/strengthening-tertiary-education-africa-through-africa-centers-excellence?lang=en&tab=overview, for more information.

22 United Nations Development Programme, Africa Human Development Report 2016: Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa, 2016.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

STI+P in the USAID Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy

In 2012, USAID instituted a Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy that establishes gender as a cross-cutting issue and details roles and responsibilities for USAID offices, bureaus, and missions. The guidance calls for integration of gender equality and female empowerment within the agency’s program cycle: in strategic planning, procurement, project design and implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

STI+P is articulated within the policy’s seven guiding principles. Specifically, the policy calls for USAID to “harness science, technology, and innovation to reduce gender gaps and empower women and girls,” advocating “bold, imaginative, and creative use of new technologies and innovations that hold great promise for increasing men’s and women’s health and wellbeing”; and “using science and technology to help change social norms and stereotypes can help reduce gender disparities.” It offers examples of STI+P for addressing gender inequality and enhancing female empowerment, such as the mWomen Partnership, aimed at decreasing the gender gap in mobile technology, and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which supports research into innovations to improve women’s safety and health, increase economic productivity, and reduce unpaid labor.

Implementation of the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy is coordinated by the senior coordinator on gender equality and female empowerment in the Office of the Administrator, a position established in the policy itself. She or he works with the Office of Gender Equality and Female Empowerment (GenDev) within the E3 Bureau, and with gender advisors within other bureaus and missions to extend gender integration across the agency.

The policy identifies partnerships as key to efforts to increase gender equality and female empowerment in a coordinated and nonduplicative manner that reflects country priorities. It stresses the importance of partnerships with other U.S. government agencies, donors, and others in the public and private sector. (See also Box 5-2, about a USAID partnership through the Women and the Web Alliance to bridge the digital divide.)

Gender analyses provide USAID with information to assess the impact of programs and initiatives on women and men separately, al-

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

though these analyses are not uniformly conducted. As with other M&E efforts at USAID, gender analyses relate to STI+P in that they represent the agency’s interest in movement toward more evidence-based, data-driven development practices. (see Chapter 6.)

Though not available at the time of this publication, USAID is preparing an assessment of the implementation of its Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy. An earlier report, Gender Integration in E3 Sector Evaluations, 2013–201423 , which reviewed gender integration in 117 evaluations, found that “while E3 evaluation reports have improved in the integration of gender considerations, gender inclusion is by no means universal, and E3 projects and evaluations can make further gains.”24 Some programs have well-developed gender analyses and use this information to shape programming, but others have not reached this level of sophistication and utility.

Finding 7.4: Some USAID programs have well-developed, data-based gender analyses that measure outputs as well as outcomes (such as female empowerment) and use this information to shape programming, but others still face challenges in data collection and accessing sufficiently sophisticated analytical capabilities to use in their science, technology, and innovation programs.

In addition to efforts to include gender as a priority in all USAID programs, evaluated through gender analyses, the agency has also invested in strategic initiatives and efforts targeted at addressing particular issues that contribute to gender inequality and erode female empowerment. Such efforts deal with a range of STI-driven interrelated issues, including harnessing innovation for women’s empowerment; boosting women’s economic growth; improving health for women and girls, including eliminating female genital mutilation; promoting gender

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23 USAID, Gender Integration in E3 Sector Evaluations, 2013 – 2014, 2016; https://usaidlearninglab.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/gender_integration_in_e3_evaluations_4-26-16.pdf.

24 USAID, Gender Integration in E3 Sector Evaluations, 2013 – 2014, 2016; https://usaidlearninglab.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/gender_integration_in_e3_evaluations_4-26-16.pdf, p. vii.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

equality and access to education; addressing the Internet gender gap; and achieving gender equality in agriculture.

Not all efforts include an explicit STI+P component, but all or most make broad use of science, technology, innovation, and partnerships. In turn, just as not all STI+P-enabled programs focus on addressing a particular challenge related to gender inequality and female empowerment, elements of them do. Box 7-1 presents some examples.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

Gender Considerations in Other Agencies and Partners

Goal 5 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Among the targets: “Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.” The World Bank also places an emphasis on gender equality, both as a development objective and a sound business practice. This year, the World Bank released its Gender Equality Strategy 2016–2023, 25 which prioritizes the collection of more and better gender data to inform evidence-based development practices related to

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25 World Bank Group, Gender Strategy FY 16–23: Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction, and Inclusive Growth, 2016, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/820851467992505410/pdf/102114-REVISED-PUBLIC-WBG-Gender-Strategy.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
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“demography, education, health, access to economic opportunities, public life and decision-making, and agency.”26

Many private-sector companies have also engaged in the challenge of using technology to empower women. For example, Cisco’s Networking Academy provides technology-based, career-oriented programs for women in engineering, computer science, and related fields. Intel designed a training program with a requirement to train as many girls as boys. This program reports that it has trained 7 million people, half of them females. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is working to raise awareness of the importance of diversity and women’s empowerment through awareness-building sessions for men in management and leadership positions within the company. These workshops include information about why gender diversity is a business imperative and address unconscious biases, assumptions, and stereotypes.

In summary, gender equality and female empowerment are recognized as core development objectives by USAID, as well as by other international organizations and the private sector. USAID and others view STI+P as a tool that can promote positive change for women: for example, by targeting women’s health; empowering women in agriculture; providing access to education in general, and education in science and technology specifically; encouraging and enabling female entrepreneurship and economic empowerment; and working to close the technological gender gap. As a simple metric, each innovation program could track the percentage of women who receive awards matched against the population at large.27 In order to ensure these many efforts have impact, M&E is valuable in tracking and measuring outputs and outcomes.

Without meaningful evaluations applied to all projects, it is difficult to assess the impact that STI+P has had on gender equality and female empowerment. There is potential for USAID to expand its efforts to use gender analyses to maximize impact through monitoring and evaluation, and to use reviews of the agency’s M&E practices, such as the forthcoming assessment of the Gender Equality and Female Em-

___________________

26 World Bank Group, Gender Statistics database, 2016, http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/gender-statistics.

27 Grand Challenges Canada, for instance, sets a standard of 50 percent women in its programs.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

powerment Policy, to identify best practices and areas of weakness in need of improvement. The gender gap in access to technology, indeed, could actually exacerbate inequality; thus, the need to base programs on evidence.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 7.1 USAID, with partner countries, other donors and industry, should expand research to better understand factors affecting whether an innovation goes to scale or not. USAID needs to understand how program design and implementation may need to be modified to improve the possibilities of scale, and ensure the sustainability of scaling over the long term. The results of this research should enable USAID to build on longer-term investments in later-stage development of innovations and bridging the gap to expand beyond a promising pilot to wider adoption by a growing network of partners. USAID should focus on partners with start-up and small-scale business experience with the objective of creating jobs through localized businesses.

Recommendation 7.2: USAID should seek ways to expand support to scientists, institutions, and innovators in the countries where it works. In light of lower cost structures and their ability to respond to local needs, relatively small amounts of funding can have a large impact on long-term capacity-building through hands-on experience. The financing, however, will have to be targeted to get maximum impact. More sophisticated diagnostics will be needed to identify the intervention appropriate to the specific individual, institution, or chosen problem. To ensure high research standards, USAID should expand its role in building scientific processes in host countries, such as helping to strengthen peer review, transparency and replicability, and publication and presentations of findings. USAID should focus on building and engaging with science, technology, and innovation capacity in partner countries.

Recommendation 7.3: USAID should develop a suite of assistance mechanisms to support efforts to build capacity for research in host counties. These should include top-quality, relevant training for stu-

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

dents with various needs, support of science institutions, and strengthening of regulatory bodies.

Recommendation 7.4: In addition to gender analyses of STI+P-related initiatives specifically targeted at gender equality and women’s empowerment, each mission director and office director should ensure that all STI+P projects consider gender analysis at all stages of the program cycle. Central collection and review of such analyses would enable more rapid institutional learning across missions and program units.

Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×

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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
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×
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×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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Suggested Citation:"7 Strategic Opportunities for STI P." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24617.
×
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The United States has long recognized that the nation’s prosperity and security depend on how we address challenges of disasters, poverty, famine, and disease around the world. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has played a vital role in promoting U.S. national and international interests by advancing strategies for employing science, technology, and innovation to respond to global challenges. The focus by USAID on science, technology, and innovation is critical to improve development outcomes. At the core of this progress is the engagement of science institutions and other innovative enterprises and their commitment to work in partnership with USAID to research, test, and scale solutions.

The Role of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in the Future of USAID provides an assessment and advice on the current and future role for science, technology, and innovation in assistance programs at USAID and on the role of partnerships in the public and private sectors to expand impact. This report examines challenges and opportunities for USAID in expanding the utilization of science, technology, and innovation in development assistance; assesses how USAID has deployed science, technology, and innovation; and recommends priority areas for improvement going forward in partnership with others.

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