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Position Paper: Support to Innovation and Innovation Systems within the Framework of Swedish Research Cooperation

Dr. Phyllis Awor, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), Kampala Uganda. Photo: Lindi van Niekerk, Social Innovation in Health Initiative, TDR

This position paper highlights the importance of innovation in development, and especially its relevance for sustainable development and achieving the goals of Agenda 2030 in low- and lower middle-income countries. The conclusions are drawn from the context of research cooperation supported by Sida. The paper provides a general description of Sida’s support as well as recommendations for the future.

Sida’s Research Cooperation focuses on research of relevance for development and the use of results, feeding into the initial steps of innovation and the achievement of societal impact. A systems-approach to innovations is promoted, focusing on the creation of an enabling environment for innovation.

Dr. Phyllis Awor, whose photo appeared on the Position Paper's Cover, defended her thesis within the Sida-funded research cooperation, where she led a study on the feasibility and effectiveness of engaging private sector drug shop owners in the provision of care to children under five living in low-income areas in Uganda, particularly for treatment of malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. Through the “Social Innovation in Health Initiative” Makerere University has an increased role in social innovation in health, supporting promising innovative initiatives from an innovation hub where Dr. Awor is the director. After leading the “Drug shop integrated management of childhood illness” project related to the study, she said the biggest lessons were “that solutions are available all around us and we can work with what is on the ground … Particularly if we are able to do this at the grass root [level], we should be able to see the solutions.”

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