Innovation is a priority area in the Australian aid program, evidenced by the establishment of the innovationXchange Strategy (iXc) within DFAT in 2015. Investing in innovation capabilities aims to increase the development impact of Australia’s aid and strengthen DFAT’s broader capacity to promote and protect the country’s place in the world. A more innovative DFAT can respond more nimbly and effectively to policy, program, and service delivery challenges, and is better able to drive change and lead on the foreign affairs, trade, and development portfolios.
The overarching goal of the IRF is to improve the impact and value for money of the iXc and Australia’s international development activities more broadly through contributions to innovation policy and aid programming. The primary role of the IRF is to support DFAT to achieve its strategic objectives through the following services:
- Sourcing and providing efficient and rapid access to technical advisory services in development innovation for the iXc, DFAT, and their partners.
- Providing grant and fund management services for the iXc and DFAT in relation to priority investments.
OUR GOALS AND RESULTS
The IRF’s work sits across a diverse range of sectors, including technology for development, food security, nutrition, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, financial inclusion, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), maternal and child health, health systems management, local government service delivery, education, youth employment, skills development, e-commerce, cyber affairs and more. Since commencing in 2016, the IRF has worked with over 75 partners implementing projects and programs across more than 30 different countries. The IRF has provided high quality technical advice, design services and operational support in the development of significant DFAT programs in response to over 130 requests since 2016 from DFAT end users.
The IRF manages or has managed a broad range of programs for DFAT, including:
- Google Impact Challenge – DFAT Technology Against Poverty Prize, 2017 - 2019.
- Australian Development Accelerator (ADA), 2017 – 2021.
- Scaling Frontier Innovation (SFI): Frontier Innovators and Frontier Incubator programs, 2017 – 2020.
- MIKTA Education in Emergencies, 2017 – 2019.
- LAUNCH Food, 2017 – 2019.
- MIT SOLVE ‘Youth, Skills and Workforce of the Future’ Challenge, 2017 – 2021.
- The Pacific Island Food Revolution (PIFR), 2018 – 2021.
- Solomon Islands Technology for Development (T4D) Challenge, 2019 – 2020.
- E-commerce Aid for Trade Fund, 2019 – 2021.
- Tuvalu Food Futures Project, 2019 – 2021.