Open AIR receives a new Queen Elizabeth Scholars funding to empower and support emerging scholars studying African innovation

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2021

The Centre for Law, Technology and Society is delighted to announce that the Open AIR network, pioneered by CLTS Faculty members Jeremy De Beer and Chidi Oguamanam, has received $300,000 from the Queen Elizabeth Scholars Advanced Scholars West Africa program to continue to support, celebrate, and further the conversation on African innovation and research.

The Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Network aims to solve a problem at the heart of intellectual property and innovation policy: how to reconcile tensions between appropriation and access, excluding and sharing, and competing and collaborating. The new funding will further enable the Open AIR network to continue creating opportunities for emerging scholars in the African innovation space.

The funding received from the Queen Elizabeth Scholars Advanced Scholars West Africa program will primarily be used toward supporting research at the intersection of gender equality, social inclusion, and innovation systems. This new scholarship program will build upon a strong foundation created by Open AIR’s first Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program, which was funded in 2017 to improve global talent exchange between Open AIR’s six hubs in Canada and African countries.

As Open AIR continues to improve our understanding of Africa’s role in the global knowledge economy, this funding serves as another important opportunity to “advance inclusive innovation, drawing in authentic gender-respectful and gender-inclusive African voices and perspectives, while strengthening Afro-Canadian exchange and learning experiences,” explained Professor Chidi Oguamanam. Professor Jeremy De Beer highlighted that now is the perfect time to deepen research into the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #5 and “related issues in innovation systems, especially additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and big data.”


The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program (QES) was created to improve global talent exchange between Canada and other nations. The program aims to develop the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders by providing enriched academic, professional, and cross-cultural experiences and by facilitating lasting local and global community engagement.

Overall, 200 Canadian and West African researchers will receive funding from the new QES Advanced Scholars West Africa program. This particular award provides funding for over a dozen emerging international scholars – including Ph.D. candidates, Postdoctoral Fellows, and early career researchers – to conduct research at the University of Ottawa and with Open AIR’s partners in West Africa.


The Open AIR Network, whose Canadian hub is hosted at the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society, is funded by the International Development Research Centre the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the UK Department for International Development. Other hubs of the network include the A2K4D Center at the American University in Cairo, CIPIT at Strathmore University, the IP Unit at the University of Cape Town, the University of Johannesburg, and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

More information about Open AIR is available here.

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