Research Projects & Networks

The Open African Innovation Research and Training (Open A.I.R.) Project (ongoing)


Open AIR is a unique collaborative network of researchers spread across 15 African countries, Canada, and elsewhere in the world answering two overarching questions:

  1. How can open collaborative innovation help businesses scale up and seize the new opportunities of a global knowledge economy?
  2. Which knowledge governance policies will best ensure that the social and economic benefits of innovation are shared inclusively?

To answer these questions, we conduct case studies on high technology hubsinformal sector entrepreneurshipindigenous entrepreneurs, and performance metrics and management practices.

Our researchers come from many disciplines, including law, economics, management, political science, and public policy. Open AIR is a partnership involving five leading universities—the University of Ottawa in Canada, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Strathmore University in Kenya, the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, and the American University in Cairo, Egypt. For more information on our researchers, please see our Team page.

Open AIR has been awarded prestigious, multi-million dollar grants to support its work over the next 3-7 years. Our funding comes from the International Development Research Centre and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This funding helps to ensure that the Open AIR network further strengthens its position as a sustainable, influential bridge of cooperation between the African continent, Canada, and the rest of the world.

Download publications and view OpenAIR videos 


African Scholars for Knowledge Justice (ASKJustice) project (ongoing)


The ASKJustice project’s policy research focuses on Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda and seeks to establish to what extent and in what ways have human rights influenced intellectual property policy processes in the study countries, and how do these processes and policies measure up against human rights principles?

Project also focuses on teaching and public voice. This brochure summarises all three aspects of the project. Teaching materials developed by the project will be available for download from the project website, after completion.

Enredados Intellectual Property and intangible cultural heritage (IP-ICH) Network

Enredados is an online network of policymakers, academics and practitioners in the fields of IP and ICH established to encourage debate on the following issues:

• the intersections between IP and ICH-related policy;

• the relationship between IP and ICH safeguarding; and

• how IP protection might be used as a tool for safeguarding ICH



The African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) project (completed)

This project probed the relationship between national copyright environments and access to learning materials in African countries. The project looked at this relationship within an access to knowledge (A2K) framework — a framework which regards the protection/promotion of user access as one of the central objectives of copyright law.

This project was supported by Canada’s IDRC and South Africa’s Shuttleworth Foundation, and managed by the LINK Centre at the Wits University Graduate School of Public & Development Management (P&DM) in Johannesburg. It had  research nodes in eight African countries: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

At the end of the project, we published a book entitled ‘Access to Knowledge in Africa: The Role of Copyright‘  and several policy contributions, including briefing papers.