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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.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

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 for research that will strengthen the public health evidence base in humanitarian settings, and contribute to more effective interventions in humanitarian response.

This Call is now open.

If you have applied before, please login to apply here.
If you have never applied before, please register to apply here.

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.

Tackling extreme heat, changing behaviours and changing policy. Photo taken during Elrha field visit to a Johns Hopkins University study in Karachi (Heat Emergency Awareness and Treatment) in 2018.

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 or multi-setting) studies
  • Studies with generalisable research findings
  • Studies that include cost-effectiveness analyses
  • Mixed method studies
  • Primary and/or secondary data approaches
  • Robust innovative methodologies that advance research in humanitarian settings
  • Formative Research to conduct preliminary studies needed before a larger research study can be designed. This year we have introduced a new Formative research stream, alongside our existing Open research.

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 crisis'

Humanitarian crises can include conflict-affected locations, natural disasters and complex emergencies. Humanitarian settings also include refugee or IDP camps/settlements, including in protracted crises, and refugees or IDPs living in urban settings. A full definition is available in our Call Guidelines.

Formative research

This year we have introduced a new Formative research stream, alongside our existing Open research. Funding of up to £100,000 is available for research which will inform a larger study. Activities must be conducted over a maximum of 24 months.

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 36 months (24 months for Formative research) in which to undertake the research and uptake activities.

Key documents: Essential reading for those applying for this grant.
Background resources: Additional resources to help you prepare your research proposal.

Video: Introduction to R2HC Annual Call 2020

This video provides an introduction to our R2HC Annual Call 2020.

There are four further videos in this series, hosted by Simon, our R2HC Portfolio Manager, which summarise:

  • the scope of our Annual Call 2020
  • eligibility criteria
  • how to submit a strong proposal
  • application process and timeline.
Watch the full video series 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 a research 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. An IRC-led research team produced and published a literature review to support their seed fund workshop.

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 an 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?

For proposals submitted in our Open research stream 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.

For our Formative research there is a maximum of £100,000 available per proposal.

The overall funding for this call for proposals will be in the region of £4.5 million. The number of grants and the total amount of funding approved will depend on the quality of proposals received.

What is the duration of the funding?

For proposals submitted in our Open research stream grants can be for a maximum duration of up to 36 months (24 months for Formative research), during which research and uptake activities can take place.

How do you define a Humanitarian Crisis?

Our definition of ‘humanitarian crisis’ is included in the Call Guidelines document. We recognise that humanitarian crises come in various forms and occur over a range of timescales.

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 we are not able to fund research in countries 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.

Can I undertake research on COVID-19?

Recognising the current relevance, we encourage research on the impact of COVID-19 on health systems and delivery of health services in countries that are already experiencing humanitarian crises.

This funding call does not invite proposals which specifically address COVID-19. R2HC was able to fund 15 studies to support COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings through a separate funding call, which is now closed.

See our Annual Call projects

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