Innovation investment study

Estimating investment in innovation for sustainable agriculture intensification (expected April 2021)

How far is the global picture of innovation today from where we need to be? This study will provide a global baseline for investment, categorize this by types of funder, implementer and topic, and estimate how much of this funding currently aims to promote the multiple economic, environmental and social objectives of sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI). Carried out by Dalberg Advisors (India) on behalf of CoSAI, it will produce global estimates for funding over the past 10 years in research and innovation for agricultural systems in the Global South, as well as more detailed estimates for the patterns of innovation funding in specific contexts and environments.

The study aims to:

  • review the recent flows of global public and private investment in agricultural innovation relevant to the Global South;
  • develop a typology of the investments made; and
  • estimate how much of this investment promotes SAI.

For CoSAI, ‘innovation’ includes not only science and technology but, importantly, innovation in policies, finance and social institutions. SAI is interpreted broadly to mean the transformative changes needed in agricultural systems to meet the SDGs and climate goals of the Paris Agreement, including social and human objectives as well as environmental sustainability.

The study will include a global study and several case studies:

Case studies


Brazil, India, Kenya

R&D network


Funding instruments for SAI; Sustainable seeds and seed management

The study has been ongoing since July 2020, with final results expected by April 2021. The study provides a baseline against which to compare changes in future funding. Most of the funding in innovation for agricultural systems is currently not promoting sustainable agricultural intensification, as CoSAI understands the term (see FAQ). Where future priorities should lie is a lively topic of debate for CoSAI and its partners, and the subject of some of our other work.