Innovation in development: Latest US push targets universities, patent holders

A woman looks through a microscope. The U.S. launched programs designed to further integrate innovation, science and technology to the country's global development policy. Photo by: USAID

The United States launched Feb. 8 two pilot programs designed to further integrate innovation, science and technology in the country’s global development policy.

The programs — a funding opportunity for universities and a challenge for patent holders — were introduced at a White House event that discussed how U.S. government agencies and their private sector partners are using innovation to promote global development.

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, among the speakers at the event, unveiled a five-year program that seeks to develop new partnerships between the agency and higher education institutions in the United States and abroad.

The Higher Education Solutions Network program aims to create and fund two types of “centers” tied to universities, colleges, research centers and other higher learning institutions. Consortium centers involve different universities, nongovernmental organizations and companies, while single institution centers will involve an individual institution. These centers will contribute to existing and future USAID programs through analysis, research and evidence testing, among others.

More information about the program, including on eligibility and deadlines, is available online.

The second program introduced at the White House event is Patents for Humanity, a competition spearheaded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is a challenge to all patent owners and licensees to use their patented technologies to help create lasting solutions to humanitarian issues. The prize: a certificate for accelerated processing with the USPTO.

Patents for Humanity will accept applications from March 1 to Aug. 30, with 50 winners to be announced at the end of the judging period in December.

More on the U.S. and innovation: 

Read more on U.S. aid reform online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.