Innovation, Technology, and Research

  • Learn more about our Agency-wide vision to advance development and humanitarian assistance through the responsible use of digital technology.

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  • Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Leads New Humanitarian Grand Challenge for Development

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  • USAID releases its first-ever Digital Strategy

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  • Check out Development Innovation Ventures, USAID’s evidence-driven, open innovation program.

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Taking smart risks to transform development.

USAID is leveraging the promise of innovation, technology and research to bring about positive change and solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

We partner with USAID missions, entrepreneurs, small businesses, researchers, universities, technology companies, government, civil society, faith-based organizations, and development professionals to keep the Agency on the forefront of science and technology, incorporate breakthrough innovations, and apply the best tools to emerging priorities.

In taking smart risks to transform development, we are:

  • sourcing, testing, and scaling proven solutions that impact millions of people; 
  • opening development to people everywhere with good ideas; 
  • using data and evidence in decision-making; and 
  • harnessing scientific and technological advances.

Innovation comes from anyone, anywhere, and at any time. We develop new partnerships, and bring innovative thinking into every element of USAID's work, from strategy to implementation.

We design challenges and prizes for development that inspire and incentivize creative problem solvers around the world to test and scale solutions to a broad range of development challenges.

With Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), an open innovation grant program, we provide funding to pilot, test, and scale creative solutions that demonstrate evidence of impact, cost-effectiveness, and the potential to scale, improving millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost.

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Digital technology transforms how people access information, goods, and services. It can spur economic growth and improve development outcomes.

Now more than ever, the role of digital development in USAID’s work is undeniable, as reflected in the recently released, first Agency-wide Digital Strategy.

We work with the private sector, governments, and civil society to eliminate barriers to digital inclusion, to use data for decision-making, to expand access to digital financial services, to apply geospatial technology and analysis to development challenges, and to responsibly leverage emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital identification.

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Scientific research is vital to addressing the world’s most pressing development challenges. It increases our understanding of complex challenges and leads to innovative solutions.

By using scientific research evidence in development, we design better programs and policies.

We cultivate a research culture and strategically partner with others to advance the use of data and evidence in decision-making.

Our work ultimately empowers communities, organizations and governments to make informed decisions.

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USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research (ITR) Hub, formerly the U.S. Global Development Lab, leads USAID in experimentation and open innovation to transform development. We take smart risks to test new ideas and partner with others to scale impact. ITR brings together diverse partners to transform how we save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people solve their own development challenges.


Last updated: April 30, 2021

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