Blog The Accelerate for Impact Platform: 2022 in Review

As 2022 draws to a close, the A4IP explores a round-up of this year’s highlights.

Against the backdrop of soaring input costs due to supply chain issues aggravated by ongoing conflicts and climate change, research out of 2022 reflects growing demand for agri-tech and climate-tech innovations. Even in a tough year, the agri-tech and climate-tech sector is performing respectively better than industries in the aggregate (from Q2 to Q3, compare a 33% reduction in overall funding to ag-tech’s 5%). Emerging markets are defying the decline: agri-food-tech investment in Asia-Pacific (excluding China) and Africa are projecting year-over-year growth for 2022. Startups in Africa crossed the one-billion-dollar mark in terms of funding raised earlier than ever before.

The current political environment is also promoting greater attention to innovation. Factors not limited to a geopolitical race to innovate more and global stages like the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) and the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) spotlighting solutions for agriculture to counter climate change are demonstrating progress in support for agri-tech and innovation as a whole. Innovation ecosystem actors are exploring how the gap between academia and industry, fueled by underfinancing and different incentives, can be bridged through more collaboration. Amidst these developments of the year 2022, CGIAR and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT are affirming the role of scientific ingenuity in the innovation ecosystem. The Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) is the venture space building on CGIAR’s legacy of research and innovation to co-design, accelerate and fund market-driven and multidisciplinary innovations at the nexus of agriculture, environment, and health. A4IP works across three pillars: to valorize dormant know-how by incubating and accelerating existing science-based innovations, co-design and launch novel transformative innovations, and nurture and institutionalize an entrepreneurial mindset and market-oriented culture.

The Accelerate for Impact Platform operates in the context of CGIAR's new Engagement Framework for Partnerships & Advocacy, under the Private Partnerships for Impact (PP4I) unit. The Accelerate for Impact Platform explores innovative models and partnerships to bridge science and entrepreneurship; accelerating technology transfer, exciting demand for CGIAR science and connecting it to the market, attracting talented entrepreneurial scientists, and raising the resources necessary to build the next generation of disruptive science-based products in agriculture and climate action. For more about how we work, check out our landing page.

For the Accelerate for Impact Platform, 2022 was a year of expansion: since the launch of the platform in 2021, the team has grown in number, network, and activities, while establishing our unique positionality within CGIAR and the wider innovation ecosystem. This year’s work has furthered A4IP’s aims by building and solidifying A4IP’s core initiatives, expanding elective activities, and Boosting A4IP’s work through ongoing outreach and communications.

For links to the A4IP outputs detailed below, find a clickable timeline of A4IP’s activities in 2022, here.

Building A4IP’s core initiatives

The beginning of 2022 saw A4IP executing the prizes from the 2021 Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge. The winners SeaSoilution, NovFeed, and Cloud participated in a tailored Investor Readiness Program in partnership with domain accelerator Rockstart, and all participants were offered a self-guided acceleration “backcasting” orientation in collaboration with the Innovative Food Systems Solutions Portal. Moreover, the A4IP completed the design phase for its next global innovation challenge, the Innovation Challenge for Climate Action for Africa. Another core initiative was the development of an incubation program for market-potential CGIAR innovations. Working again with Rockstart, A4IP conducted a thorough design phase consulting CGIAR scientists to discover current bottlenecks of their processes and developed a proposal for this CGIAR Investor Readiness Program, to be launched in the new year. 2022 also saw the development of a core A4IP event series designed to connect CGIAR scientists to the innovation ecosystem: Venture-Out Events: Building Bridges between Science and Entrepreneurship. A4IP conducted three of these events in 2022 with Stenon, a technology for lab-independent real-time soil analysis; Pluton Biosciences, a venture producing microbial solutions for carbon sequestration and beyond; and Ginkgo Bioworks, exploring engineered biology for applications in agricultural biosecurity and more.


Morocco group photo


Expanding elective activities for 2022

In 2022, the A4IP engaged in elective activities, including the development and implementation of regional innovation challenges as part of the CGIAR’s Research Initiative, Fragility to Resilience in Central and West Asia and North Africa. The AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge targeted science-based solutions in sustainable agriculture and climate action that could contribute toward the 2020-2030 Generation Green Strategy for Morocco. The AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge was executed and supported by a consortium of partners: Digital Development Partnership, administered by the World Bank Group, Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture (MAPMDREF), Pôle d’Agriculture Digitale, and GIZ. 350 applications from 31 countries were received, and 20 semifinalists were invited for an in-person bootcamp in Meknes, Morocco. Ten finalists were selected for the acceleration program. At a Demo Day finale event, finalists pitched their solutions to a global audience including potential investors. Winners Green Growth, from Sand to Green and yieldsApp continue to receive post-acceleration support from A4IP as they progress through achievements including securing of funding rounds, piloting of solutions, winning of other challenges, and more.  

The A4IP also started the proximate iterations of the F2R-CWANA series in Uzbekistan and Egypt, including an in-person workshop in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and consultation from 50+ players in the innovation ecosystem. The A4IP also participated in several global public events, delivering the following panels: Meeting di Rimini – Climate crisis and food security: The role of innovative technology and entrepreneurship ; FAO S&I Forum - Greening our Future: The Potential of Science, Innovation and Youth Empowerment for Greening our Agri-food Systems ; FAO S&I Forum - Co-creating responsible innovation ecosystems that enable systemic change of food systems : COP27 - Unlocking the power of youth-led innovation in ag and climate-tech to transform global food system ; COP27 - Multistakeholder Partnerships to Tackle the Global Food Crisis through Regenerative Agriculture. The A4IP also received attention from speakers on stages including the G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting and the London World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit.

Uzbekistan breakout session


Boosting A4IP’s work through ongoing outreach and communications

In 2022, the A4IP worked continuously to engage in outreach for partnership building and fundraising. The A4IP investigated and developed an initial model for a donor advised Alliance/CGIAR Investment Fund. Outreach also led to network and relationship building with leading innovation ecosystem actors including project and partnership proposal development with Ginkgo Bioworks and Planet, and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Development Programme Rome Center around ongoing collaboration in The Youth4Climate Initiative. To sustain visibility for its initiatives, the A4IP worked to produce regular communications materials including blog publications (12 including this one), YouTube channel uploads (1491 total views), webpage content (top 25 most visited pages of the Alliance), social media posts and more.

The progress of the Accelerate for Impact Platform in 2022 is thanks to the contribution and collaboration of our funding and implementing partners, collaborators, participating innovators, and especially thanks to generous offerings of Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the continued support of Alliance and CGIAR colleagues and all who have made our work possible.
Join us in 2023 for another year of combining scientific creativity, technological ingenuity, and entrepreneurship for transformative solutions. Stay tuned for an Annual Report to learn about the outcomes of our initiatives in more detail, check out the new webpage showcasing innovations that A4IP has supported in its innovation challenges, bootcamps, and acceleration programs, and continue to join us for our initiatives in the new year including the next Venture-Out with Planet on January 24th, the agri- and climate-tech innovation challenge in Uzbekistan, Innovation Challenge for Climate Action for Africa, presence at events including the World AgriTech Summit in London, new partnerships, and much more.

Happy New Year from the Accelerate for Impact Platform. Connect with us at [email protected]