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We are Elrha, a force for change in the humanitarian community. The research and innovation we support equips the humanitarian community with the knowledge of what works, so people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Our purpose is clear: to empower the humanitarian community to improve humanitarian response. We make this happen by supporting and championing the outcomes of robust research and proven innovations.
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This funding call is currently closed.

R2HC aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises.

This grant programme is an ‘Open Call’, with proposals sought that address specific or multiple public health issues by gathering evidence with the potential to contribute to improved public health outcomes in humanitarian contexts.


The Humanitarian Health Evidence Review demonstrated how few rigorous research studies have been conducted in humanitarian contexts across multiple fields of public health. This fund provides a unique opportunity to generate high quality evidence that can add to the global evidence base and shape humanitarian response.

All proposals will be expected to demonstrate the potential scale and impact of the proposed research and, to do this, you might like to consider adopting the following approaches:

  • Comparative (multi-country) research
  • Research that is replicable in multiple contexts
  • Multi-sector integrated responses
  • Research that advances new methodological approaches in challenging contexts
  • Research outcomes that are clearly linked to improving humanitarian responses
  • Inclusion of cost-effectiveness analyses (where appropriate)

Open call for research

This is an Open Call but applications must have a research team including both a research institution and an operational humanitarian organisation to be eligible. We will consider applications from any legally registered not-for-profit body across the globe.

What defines a 'humanitarian crises'

'Humanitarian crises' for the purpose of the programme includes natural disasters, conflicts, or complex emergencies, either at the regional, national or sub-national levels, within lower or middle income countries.

Type of studies considered

Proposed research methodologies should be of a standard such that final papers will be publishable in peer-reviewed academic journals. Robust innovative methodologies that advance research in humanitarian settings are encouraged. Primary and/or secondary data collection approaches will be considered.

Our Annual Call has a two-stage selection process: an initial Expression of Interest stage, and a subsequent Full Proposal stage for shortlisted applicants. Successful Full Proposals will have up to 48 months in which to undertake the research and uptake activities.

Key documents: Essential reading for those applying for this grant (Please note this Call is now closed and these documents are for reference only).

Background resources: Additional resources to help you prepare your research proposal.

Webinars: A recording of our recent webinar can be found below and you can download a copy of the slide deck here.

Play video
Image taken from our R2HC supported research study 'Enhancing Community Resilience in the Acute Aftermath of Disaster: Evaluation of a Disaster Mental Health Intervention'. Photo Credit: Colorado University.

Seed Funding

A key requirement for applying for this funding is the existence of aresearch partnership between humanitarian and academic organisations. In order to foster these partnerships, we offer Seed Funding to all applicants successful at the Expression of Interest stage. Seed Funding is a unique feature of the programme, enabling shortlisted applicants to:-

  • Strengthen Partnerships – funding can be used to convene an in-person meeting between the different research partners. Ipas used the Seed Funding to strengthen the relationship between the organisation and their partners. The project’s Principal Investigator, Tamara Fetters, describes some of the benefits of Seed funding and what it enabled them to do.
  • Strengthen Proposals – Seed Funding can be used to cover the costs of extra visits to the potential study sites to undertake further consultation or assess any feasibility and security concerns. Dr Sarah Paige, from the University of Wisconsin, used the money to arrange a visit to Sierra Leone so she could strengthen and formalise their partnerships with in-country organisations.
  • Strengthen Research – Seed Funding may be used to collect preliminary data that can help finalise the research methodology and details for the full proposal. The International Medical Corps, in partnership with College Dublin and others produced a Policy Brief following a mini-study they conducted on Community Health Workers in Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

We strongly encourage recipients to use these funds to bring together their research team members to work out respective roles and responsibilities. This provides research consortia with the best chance of success once funded.

Applying for Seed Funding: When submitting you Expression of Interest (EOI) you can choose to be considered for Seed Funding. Applicants who’s EOIs are successfully shortlisted will then be eligible for the Seed Funding grants. Our team will be in touch with successful applicants with the details of how they can request Seed Funding support.

Commonly Asked Questions

Am I eligible?

The lead applicant must be not-for-profit and legally registered (e.g. NGOs, universities, research institutions, UN agencies and public / government institutions). Individual or for-profit organisations cannot be the lead applicant.

Applicants can come from any part of the world and do not need to be registered in the UK.

Do we need a partnership?

Yes. At a minimum, we require a partnership between at least one academic or research institution and one operational humanitarian partner. Either body can be the lead organisation for the application.

The research team must include a academic or research institution from the country(s) or region where the research will take place.

Can my organisation submit more than one Expression of Interest?

Yes, each proposal is considered on its own merit

How much can I ask for & what type of costs will the funding cover?

There is no maximum or minimum limit. Applicants are encouraged to request enough funds to complete the proposed research successfully.

Applicants may request support for personnel costs, travel, data collection and analysis, reasonable equipment purchases, and other items to cover the full research costs in the relevant setting.

The R2HC will not generally pay for the costs of interventions, except in limited cases where a small trial pilot is needed.

What is the duration of the funding?

Grants can be for a maximum duration of up to 48 months, during which research and uptake activities can take place.

How do you define a Humanitarian Crisis?

For the purpose of this programme a ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ includes natural disasters, conflicts, or complex emergencies, either at the regional, national or sub-national levels, within lower or middle income countries.

In which countries can I undertake research?

The R2HC is only able to fund research in countries featured in the Development Assistant Committee (DAC) list of ODA recipients. This means that while we can fund research in countries such as Turkey and North Macedonia, we are not able to do so in others such as Greece.

We can consider applications for research in non-humanitarian settings but you will need to demonstrate that the outcomes of the research would have validity as well as applicability in a humanitarian context.

What types of research do you support?

We fund both primary and secondary data collection, as well as improved public health tools – such as diagnostic measures, monitoring indicators or evaluation approaches – provided that these are applied in the context of a humanitarian crisis and that a concrete link to improved public health outcomes is demonstrated.

We do not fund systematic reviews, laboratory-based or clinical trials, or the development of diagnostics.

How do I apply?

All application must be submitted via our online platform – Common Grant Application

When will I get a decision?

Expressions of Interest will be informed of decisions by the end of September 2019.

Shortlisted Expressions of Interest will have until 20th December 2019 to submit Full proposals. Decisions on Full Proposals will be made in March 2020.

See our Annual Call projects

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