New publication from CGIAR A4IP and ECDPM offers insight into developing and deploying science-based innovations

The CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) call for bold action in a timely study exploring the challenges and opportunities in developing market-ready Research and Innovation (R&I) for food systems transformation.

With the global population hurtling towards a projected 10 billion by 2050, the urgency for transformative solutions in our food systems has reached a crescendo. With that in mind, the CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform is keen to announce the publication of “Creating an Enabling Environment for Developing and Deploying Market-Ready Science-Based Innovations for Sustainable Food Systems”.

Access the paper on CGSpace here

Authored by the team of experts from CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform and ECDPM, outlined below, the paper sheds light on the complexity of the agri-food innovation ecosystem. It offers understanding on how market-ready R&I can play a pivotal role in meeting increasing food demands, mitigating climate change impacts, and fostering economic growth and development, yet they are faced by key bottlenecks to scaling that hinder their fullest potential for impact being reached.

Among the critical challenges outlined are the misalignment between innovative solutions and market demands, extended development timelines due to biological cycles of ag-based innovations, gaps in capacity-to-adopt and infrastructure, limited capital to derisk technological development, regulatory intricacies, and limited cooperation and coordination. These challenges, particularly prevalent in African contexts, pose significant hurdles to scaling innovations that could otherwise advance food security, climate resilience, and economic development.

That said, the paper so too explores the conditions necessary to propel market-ready R&I in overcoming these challenges. By embedding innovation in local contexts, ensuring targeted and tailored long-term support of incubators and agrifood-tech startups, strengthening technology transfer mechanisms, and fostering international cooperation, the paper provides a roadmap to uphold pioneering solutions in food systems.

Words from the authors:

Gianpiero Menza, PhD, Senior Manager in Partnerships & Innovative Finance at the Alliance of Bioversity International & CIAT – 

"We are constantly exploring and testing new models to better utilize research results, connect, valorize, and transform them into innovative solutions that are adoptable, context-specific, and affordable. This publication arrives at a pivotal time, as many institutions are working to increase the impact of their work. It provides an overview of the challenges and offers approaches to overcome them. The CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform is striving to shift the paradigm in science, aiming to systematically understand our researchers' work and ensure that the innovative solutions developed are fit for purpose and viable."

Daniel Adeniyi, PhD, Policy Officer in ECDPM's Sustainable Food Systems and Climate Action and Green Transition teams – 

“This study is indeed timely, as it addresses a critical issue in our food systems - the limited progression of proven innovations beyond the conceptual or pre-commercialisation phase. We investigated the factors driving this challenge and proposed practical solutions. We hope that the paper's key recommendations will assist in unlocking the untapped potential of innovations, ultimately contributing to the sustainability of food systems.”

Francesco Rampa, Head of ECDPM's Sustainable Food Systems team – 

“We are proud of our collaboration with CGIAR A4IP to produce this policy paper. It is widely acknowledged that innovations could significantly disrupt food systems in Africa, but their impact can only be realised when they reach the market and end-users, a challenge that currently exists. Our paper offers valuable insights into the conditions required to advance market-ready R&I in food systems, which can inform programming and policy processes related to R&I.  We hope that these insights will contribute to harnessing the potential of innovations within food systems.”

This publication underscores the importance of collaborative efforts from policymakers, researchers, innovators, investors, and international partners in driving forward the agenda for food system transformation. It calls for bold actions and strategic investments to unlock the full potential of innovation in addressing complex challenges globally.

As we continue this journey towards a more sustainable and equitable food future, let us draw inspiration from the insights and recommendations put forth in this paper to shape fruitful food systems for generations to come.


The Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) is the venture space that leverages CGIAR’s legacy in research and innovation to co-design, accelerate, and de-risk the development and deployment of science-based solutions for sustainable agriculture and climate action. A4IP entrepreneurs pioneer models to bridge research products from lab to market, create demand for CGIAR science, and strengthen its role in the innovation ecosystem. The initiative plays a catalytic role for entrepreneurial scientists, startups, and other strategic partners driving innovation that will make our agri-food systems healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable. A4IP is an initiative powered by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT; a CGIAR research center.

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