Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

A global organisation that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation..
Our purpose is clear: we work in partnership with a global community of humanitarian actors, researchers and innovators to improve the quality of humanitarian action and deliver better outcomes for people affected by crises.
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This funding call is now closed.

We are seeking proposals for research that will strengthen the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises and contribute to better health outcomes for people affected by crisis.

Addressing leading causes of morbidity and mortality, your research question will seek to improve the functioning of a health system and health outcomes in a humanitarian setting by addressing one or more health system building blocks.  Applicants should apply a systems thinking approach to explore the impact of interventions to improve health outcomes in complex, real-world humanitarian settings. 

Proposals focusing on needs of women and girls are particularly encouraged. 

Get the full details in the Call Guidelines

For all key information about this funding call, including the eligibility criteria, application timelines, and a glossary of key terms, please read the Call Guidelines.

View Call Guidelines

Proposals should be informed by the needs of peoplewho use the health system in the humanitarian setting(s) in which your study will be conducted, and applicants should engage with relevant stakeholders to determine the key health system challenge to be addressed. Your proposal must demonstrate how the research findings will be used by identified stakeholders to strengthen the health system and improve health outcomes at a local, national or global level. 

What is a 'systems thinking' approach?

We are looking for research that addresses the complexity of delivering health services in real-world settings. Your research study should consider one or more WHO health system building blocks. See our Call Guidelines and the video below for more information.

What defines a 'humanitarian crisis'?

Humanitarian settings can include conflict-affected locations, complex emergencies, environmental crises, and settings hosting refugees or IDPs. A full definition is available in our Call Guidelines.

Research Uptake

All research should be designed so that humanitarian stakeholders will be able to apply the evidence produced to policy and practice. To achieve this, research teams will need to be ‘positioned for impact’, with established stakeholder relationships in place or included as team members. Refer to the Call Guidelines and video below for more detail.

This funding 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 18 months in which to undertake the research and uptake activities. 

We are currently awaiting confirmation that resources are available for this funding call. We anticipate that funds will be confirmed by 31 March, before applicants are invited to submit Full Proposals. However, as applicants to the R2HC, we want to make you aware that there is a slight risk that the full research call may not go ahead. 

Essential reading

It is important that you read the following before applying for this funding.

We also hosted a launch webinar on the 9th February where we introduced the two funding calls and answered questions. You can watch the recording of this webinar under videos below.

How to apply

All applications must be submitted via the online Common Grants Application system: 

All applications must be submitted in English. 


These videos provide important information about specific aspects of this funding call.

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Background resources

Additional resources to help you prepare your research proposal.

Title photo credit: T.Fauszt, International Rescue Committee.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I undertake research on COVID-19?

This research call is not specifically focused on COVID-19. In 2020, R2HC  funded 15 studies to support COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings through a dedicated funding call, which is now closed. 

To be eligible for this funding call, if you want to focus on COVID-19 your proposal will need to clearly demonstrate that it meets the overall eligibility criteria and scope of the funding call as outlined in the Call Guidelines. Research studies must seek to improve the functioning of a health system in a humanitarian setting.  

What is the duration of the funding?

Successful Full Proposals will have up to 18 months  in which to undertake the research and uptake activities. Studies should plan to start in January 2023 and end in July 2024.

Are there any geographical restrictions for R2HC funding?

We do not fund research in countries that are not included in the DAC list of ODA recipients. 

In addition, we are unable to fund research in countries that are currently subject to international sanctions. You should make yourself aware of the current sanction laws and relevant legislation, and be prepared to apply for any government licences if required. To be certain, we advise you to discuss with your legal counsel if required. 

How many proposals do you expect to be able to fund?

We hope to be able to fund 10-15 proposals across the two funding calls. However, this will depend on the total funding pot available (still to be confirmed) and the quality of the applications received. In previous years we have received approximately 150 eligible applications for our annual funding calls and been able to fund 5-10 proposals.

What happens to my Expression of interest once I've submitted it?

You will receive an email confirming receipt. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the shortlisting process by mid-May 2022.

The Call Guidelines refers to a rebuttal stage. What is this and what will I need to do?
We include a rebuttal period in the review stage of the Full Proposal application process. This will provide an opportunity for applicants to respond to comments or questions raised by technical experts during their reviews. You will be given one week to provide clarifications. Your full proposal, the technical reviews, and your rebuttal response will then all be reviewed by Funding Committee members.
It will not be possible for you to amend your proposal in any way, just to provide additional information or clarifications. The rebuttal period is expected to be in July 2022.
What is the role of the Research Uptake Focal point?

We require that each study team includes a research uptake focal point.

To find out more about what we expect from this role and why it is so important, please watch this short video prepared by our Research Impact Manager, Cordelia Lonsdale.

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