Innovation for a Better World – Advanced Solutions for Sustainable Development

Frugal innovations rely on a "do more with less" approach to provide high-quality, resource-light and affordable products and services in response to specific needs of a target group. When designed effectively, frugal innovations can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - both by addressing issues that are often underserved by markets and institutions and through resource-efficient solutions which are affordable and easily available to a large number of people.

Pilot collaboration starts in 2020 (Austria, Western Balkans)

A pilot collaboration on frugal innovations between the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) in Austria and the Western Balkans starts in fall 2020.

Gaining a deep understanding of the respective issue at hand is an essential and complex aspect of developing successful frugal innovations. To tackle this challenge, FFG and ADA, the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, have teamed up to explore how to best support projects that aim to address a problem through frugal innovations.

Their joint project Innovation for a Better World – Advanced Solutions for Sustainable Developmentlooks into the feasibility and implementation possibilities of a new funding scheme for frugal innovations in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia). It consists of a year-long series of workshops which will investigate and prototype collaborations between organisations from Austria and the Western Balkans. Their aim is to contribute to the SDGs through projects inspired by the principles of frugal innovation.

What is frugal innovation?

In the context of this project, frugal innovation is understood as an approach which delivers “affordable excellence” tailored to the needs of an underserved market: “Frugal innovations seek to create attractive value propositions for their targeted customer groups by focusing on core functionalities and thus minimizing the use of material and financial resources in the complete value chain. They substantially reduce the cost of usage and/or ownership while fulfilling or even exceeding prescribed quality standards.” (Tiwari, Fischer and Kalogerakis, March 2016).

Current opportunities

Funding calls

Are you working on defining a problem which could be addressed by using frugal innovations? Are you elaborating an impactful solution for the Western Balkans region* and are in need of financial support to further develop your idea? Are you ready to kick off your project and are looking for funding which will help to roll it out?

FFG's Impact Innovation and ADA's Business Partnership scheme funding calls are now accepting applications for projects which contribute to the SDGs and are in line with the principles of frugal innovations.

Are you ready to apply? ADA and FFG are opening two existing funding calls to projects which create positive impact through the principles of frugal innovation as part of this pilot project. For more information, see the FFG's Impact Innovation scheme and the Austrian Development Agency's Business Partnership scheme.

* Priority will be given to applicants focusing on the Western Balkans but projects from/targeting other regions will also be considered.

Virtual networking events

Would you like to learn more about the project directly from representatives of FFG and ADA, present your project idea and network with potential partners? Join one of 3 dedicated virtual networking events taking place in fall 2020.

Online Information Sessions

- October 8th, 2020

- October 29th, 2020

- November 19th, 2020

Join the online information sessions to: 

- Learn about frugal innovation and its potential for the region

- Find out more about the project and funding opportunities

- Ask questions directly to representatives of ADA and FFG

- Get feedback on project ideas

- Network with potential partners

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