Recently, the SPEED-MakSPH team joined other Africa Researchers and Innovators in Kigali Rwanda for a seminar organized by the European Union (EU) under Horizon 2020. The one day seminar aimed at providing information to researchers, innovators, and policy makers, to learn more about Horizon 2020 – which is the EU’s largest research and innovation program ever with nearly € 80 billion in funding available over the next 7 years.
The seminar was integrated into the Africa Innovation Summit that took place from 6-8 June 2018. Prof. Freddie Ssengooba (SPEED Director) and Mr. Chrispus Mayora (Health Economist), attended the seminar on behalf of SPEED.
Horizon 2020 is the new EU framework for funding support, under which resources have been set aside to support research and innovative solutions to support the Humanitarian aid responses to crises and disasters.
What qualifies to be an innovation?
It was noted, the concept of innovation has been a matter of contention and debate across all areas. However, taking UNICEF approach to innovation, innovation requires initially (a) an identification of the problem, (b) generate a prototype or a pilot of the idea to address the problem, and (c) scaling up after successful pilot. In this sense, innovation is perceived as an idea that:
- improves the delivery of programs with high efficiency
- Is designed with the user (and context) in mind
- is context specific
- can be scaled up
- uses available data
- uses open standards in access to information
- does not harm, and
- Encourages collaboration and long term engagement
Given the fact that Makerere University through various projects like ReBUILD consortium has been engaged in a number of in post conflict research and policy engagements for long period of time, a lot of evidence has been generated geared towards the development of strong health systems in crisis ad disaster affected areas.
In the same way the European Union funded project- SPEED can take advantage of the new Horizon 2020 program that emphasizes innovation. Therefore, a key lesson drawn from this engagement is that MaKSPH and SPEED partners need to refine their work to support innovation for UHC.