Innovation for a Better World - Advanced Solutions for Sustainable Development

Pilot collaboration between the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) on frugal innovation in Austria and the Western Balkans.

About the project

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

Gaining a deep understanding of the issue at hand is an essential and complex aspect of developing successful frugal innovations. To tackle this challenge, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Development Agency (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 innovation.

Their joint project “Innovation for a Better World – Advanced Solutions for Sustainable Development” looks into the feasibility and implementation possibilities of a new funding scheme for frugal innovation in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia).

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)

Full citation: Tiwari, R., Fischer, L. and Kalogerakis, K. (2016): “Frugal Innovation in Scholarly and Social Discourse: An Assessment of Trends and Potential Societal Implications”, joint working paper of Fraunhofer MOEZ Leipzig and Hamburg University of Technology in the BMBF-ITA project, Leipzig and Hamburg.

Funding opportunities

Ready to apply? FFG’s Impact Innovation and ADA’s Business Partnership scheme funding calls are accepting applications for projects that contribute to the SDGs and are in line with the principles of frugal innovation.

Are you working on defining a problem that could be addressed using frugal innovation? 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 to start rolling-out your project? As part of the pilot project, ADA and FFG are opening two existing funding calls to projects that create positive impact through frugal innovation principles.

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Dr. Maria Fischinger
Dr. Maria Fischinger
Frugale Innovation
T +43 5 7755 1216


The “Innovation for a Better World - Advanced Solutions for Sustainable Development” project is mandated by FFG and ADA. It is implemented by Impact Hub Vienna together with a consortium of partners composed of  288 Grad Consulting (Austria), Center for Social Innovation (Austria) and Smart Kolektiv (Serbia).