A role for innovation prizes to support adaptation to climate change?
The aim of this paper is to examine the role of innovation prizes in supporting adaptation to climate change in the context of development, in view of two parallel trends: First, a growing interest in applying innovation prizes to international development, and second, the increasing focus on ensuring that adaptation funding and implementation are achieving the goals of supporting the poorest and most vulnerable groups. We analyse innovation prizes – their origin, recent trends, and adaptation experiences–against a pathways approach as well as characteristics of successful adaptation, in order to examine whether and under what conditions innovation prizes can play a positive role in supporting adaptation.
The study finds that while there is significant overlap in goals and mechanisms between innovation prizes and adaptation, key challenges remain in reconciling tensions that could exclude vulnerable or marginal groups from competing for, or benefiting from, innovation prizes. The paper proposes a set of actions to explore the possibilities of overcoming the challenges, which will be tested through two innovation prizes for improving the usability of climate information (Kenya) and scaling up innovation capabilities (Nepal).