Selection Criteria

In order to select the most appropriate innovations, we have developed a set of criteria to best support the application and selection process. We will use this criteria to evaluate the potential beneficial innovations; regardless of the routes to scale they have chosen.

Proposals will need to demonstrate a familiarity with the contexts in which they are working, and a comprehensive understanding of the problem they are seeking to solve. As with all our work, our aim is to identify new or improved practices focused on saving lives and reducing suffering during crises and disasters. We are committed to identifying ideas and innovations wherever they come from, whether it be public or private, national or international.

Underpinning this criteria is the paramount aim of identifying and supporting the most promising innovations with the potential to have the maximum impact for those affected by crises and disasters.



We are seeking high impact innovations which transform the humanitarian system. This could be by offering a significant step change in performance or overcoming systemic challenges. The goal is to have the greatest positive benefit for those caught up in humanitarian emergencies.

Questions we’ll be considering:

  • Is the proposal addressing a problem worth solving?
  • Is there a solid problem analysis and a real need for the solution?
  • Has the innovation already demonstrated potential – is it better than existing solutions?
  • Is there potential for scale and widespread use?



In addition to a good idea, with the potential to grow, we want to find innovations combined with an initial plan for scale, which we can work together to develop. Preliminary strategies or business plans demonstrate a grasp of the challenges associated with building a sustainable solution that involves the broad context of users, providers, and other participants.

Questions we’ll be considering:

  • Is there an initial plan for scale?
  • Is there an initial viable business model?
  • Is there an understanding of what needs to change for this innovation to be taken to scale?
  • Is there an understanding of the barriers to change?


Scaling presents many practical challenges of ‘making ideas work’ in the actual context of humanitarian response. The innovation must do more than address an important need – it must also be valid (based on logic and fact) and be reasonably expected to work at scale.

Questions we’ll be considering:

  • Is the innovation based on sound logic (or a theory of change?)
  • Is the idea technically sound?
  • What evidence of success at improving outcomes has been produced?
  • Is there reasonable potential for scale?

Team composition

At its heart, successful innovation is about people, and we want to identify innovations with dynamic teams to drive them forward. This will include a committed core capacity, as well as partners and networks needed to enable growth in the complex aid system.

Questions we’ll be considering:

  • Is there the right team and culture to make this happen?
  • Are there the right partners needed for scale?
  • Is there an understanding of changing needs in the team’s skills and capacity?
  • Is there a willingness to learn and share the work and results?

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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