Implementation objectives for this ingredient:

Strengthened implementation research capacity

An effective global innovation marketplace

Innovation and research are essential to accelerate attainment of targets under the SDGs and the Global Strategy – increasing domestic capacity for innovation and research is key. This capacity traditionally has been supported to a large degree by global research and innovation funders, and this needs to continue in the SDG era. At the same time, there is an increasing need for greater domestic support for building this capacity to stimulate a pipeline of innovations for testing and taking successful products or approaches to scale. Country plans also need to consider how they will incorporate local and global innovations to help accelerate their targets.

9.1 Strengthened implementation research capacity

While increased research capacity is required in a number of areas (including basic and clinical research), implementation research is particularly important to improve the delivery of services and interventions, producing knowledge to overcome obstacles that are context and system specific. Strengthening implementation research capacity requires:

  • Understanding of the value of implementation research by policy-makers, funders and implementers within countries
  • Dedicated domestic and global funding pools for implementation research
  • Training in methodology for implementers and national researchers in implementation research
  • Technical support from global and regional partners to help implementers use the findings of implementation research to improve service delivery.

9.2 An effective global innovation marketplace

The Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace aims to provide a mechanism and a conducive environment—backed by a global partnership of stakeholders—to curate the pipeline of innovations, identify the most promising, and broker investment to accelerate their path to scale, sustainability and impact. The goal is to transition at least 20 investments to scale by 2020 and to see at least ten of these innovations widely available and producing significant benefits for women, children and adolescents by 2030. Functions of the Innovation Marketplace include:

  • maintaining a network of curators with deep expertise in different health segments‎who maintain prioritized lists of most promising innovations using common criteria
  • assessing applications for transition to scale from various stakeholders against common criteria and lists of most promising innovations in relevant health segment ‎
  • developing funding partnerships among stakeholders including common application forms for transition to scale
  • developing funding partnerships around specific deals with multi-national corporations and other private sector entities engaged in research and innovation
  • attracting investments for individual deals from high net-worth individuals and family offices, sometimes in partnership with investment banks
  • linking these activities to global funding modalities.


Research and Innovation:

Building Global Partnerships for Research and Innovation Through Grand Challenges Ethiopia

Ethiopia has largely achieved the MDG targets through a robust primary health care approach. To consolidate this achievement, the Government of Ethiopia finalized a 20-year envisioning exercise aimed at achieving health-related targets comparable to the best performing middle-income countries by 2035. The country targets are also coherent with the SDG targets, particularly ending all preventable deaths of mothers and children by 2030.

The velocity of the current progress is not sufficient to attain bold and ambitious targets stipulated in Ethiopia’s targets and SDGs. As a consequence, it is of paramount importance to accelerate existing efforts by stimulating domestic innovation and research. It will be particularly important to measure the possible population-level impacts and implementation cost of early stage innovations based on empirical data and mathematical modeling in order to determine which innovations are best suited to transition to scale.

In order to stimulate new innovations within Ethiopia, swiftly import relevant innovations that have been developed elsewhere in the world and ensure the worldwide dissemination of domestic research and best practice information, the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia has established Grand Challenges Ethiopia (GCE). The programme focuses on funding innovations in maternal and newborn health, early childhood development and health services. It will focus on funding innovations demonstrating clear linkages to desired population-level impacts under Ethiopia’s Health Sector Transformation Plan and which are tailored to pastoralist communities within the country. Innovations that demonstrate sustained contributions to ending preventable maternal and child deaths will be transitioned to national or sub-national scale.

Importantly, the innovation and research efforts of Grand Challenges Ethiopia will tap into surging momentum for innovation at global level. Grand Challenges Ethiopia plans to harness global and regional partnerships—for example by engaging with the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace, Saving Brains and other global initiatives —to share and import best practices, stimulate research and innovation and eventually ground all health interventions in innovation. Such investments will help Ethiopia attain the Global Strategy’s “Thrive” objectives, as well as its own Health Sector Transformation Plan objectives.

Source: Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia 2015. The Health Sector Transformation Plan (HSTP), 2015/16-2019/20. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.