Please note that this opportunity has now closed. Find out about our current and previous funding opportunities.
Generating evidence is challenging in humanitarian settings. Time pressures often mean that immediate response is prioritised over research; and contextual factors such as rapidly changing and unstable environments, dynamic flows of people, and lack of access due to security concerns add to the list of risks researchers must manage.
Yet evidence is key to driving the sustainable and ethical uptake of innovation. This is especially the case in the humanitarian sector, where new tools, approaches or services can have a direct impact on the health, dignity and well-being of populations affected by crisis.
Evidence required for scaling innovation is often thought about in terms of impact (or effectiveness). But evidence is defined by its use: the questions that need to be answered and who is asking these questions. While measuring effectiveness is key at certain points in the innovation lifecycle, research that assesses other elements such as the acceptability, usability, cost, efficiency, feasibility or sustainability of solutions might, at other points, be just as relevant.
While a growing number of resources offer frameworks for assessing evidence requirements, choosing appropriate methods to gather evidence, and determining the quality of evidence, there are still substantial gaps in the quantity and quality of evidence for humanitarian WASH interventions.
We are looking for robust research studies that generate practical, comparative evidence around HIF-funded WASH innovations.
The evidence will be useful for both the innovations themselves and the humanitarian sector as a whole. These studies need to be collaborations between WASH innovators, researchers and humanitarian agencies.
This Innovation Challenge aims to create:
For further information about the Challenge, criteria for applications, expected deliverables and timelines, as well as a glossary of key terms, please read the Challenge Handbook.
To apply for the Challenge, fill out the Expression of Interest (EOI) via our Common Grants Application platform.
To be eligible to apply for the Challenge, proposals must:
Any of the partners applying can be the formal lead applicant. However, while innovators, research institutions and humanitarian agencies are expected to work together on defining the evidence needs of the innovation that would help it to adapt and scale, the research partner is expected to lead on designing and carrying out the research. We encourage confirmed project partners to develop their proposal as a team. Collaborations with local partners are encouraged.
Contain a comparative element for the research.
For further information about eligibility requirements and success criteria, see Challenge Handbook
We want to ensure that the priority WASH problems we have identified are addressed at scale.
Our HIF WASH work is entirely problem-led. Since 2013, we have invested in a rich body of research around problems, been advised by sector experts on which problems to focus on, and designed Innovation Challenges specifically to address these problems. Over the past six years, we have funded over 40 WASH innovations, ranging from soap alternatives to surface water drainage guidance and rapid community engagement approaches. Most of these innovations are at the pilot stage, and many have demonstrated potential to address key problems in the sector. Yet, ‘breaking through’ this pilot stage and gaining wider uptake is a core challenge innovators face.
Through this Challenge, we will help our strongest WASH innovations adapt, improve and begin the journey to scale. This way, we can contribute towards turning the WASH sector’s investment in innovation into real impact on the ground.
Primarily, we are interested in evidence that can facilitate learning and help innovators improve and scale and/or replicate their innovation in other humanitarian settings or with other agencies. As a secondary outcome, we are interested in evidence that can add value to the wider WASH sector.
Key types of evidence and research questions could include, but are not limited to:
Cost efficiency may not always be relevant to measure (eg, in cases where there has been no alternative solution to a problem).
For further information, see Challenge Handbook
We have a total budget of 950,000 GBP for this Challenge.
From this, we envisage funding a selection of research studies with varying budgets and duration. Grant payments will be made in instalments throughout the grant period.
The proposed budgets and project durations should align with the level of ambition of each individual project within the Challenge parameters. Each project will be assessed on its own merit, value for money and potential for impact.
We can fund
We can’t fund
Further information will be shared in our Eligible Cost guide during the later stages of application.
The Challenge launches on 19 November 2019. The deadline for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) is 24 January 2020 at 23:59 GMT.
There will be an optional webinar for interested applicants on 5 December 2019, 14:30-16:00 GMT. The webinar will discuss frameworks and tools for assessing evidence needs for innovations and how to design adaptive research to address these. The webinar will be recorded and available on the Challenge website.
Shortlisted projects will be notified in the week commencing 10 February 2020.
For further information about the application process and timelines, see Challenge Handbook
Full proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
For a detailed explanation of each criterion and an overview of the evaluation process, please read the Challenge Handbook.
We’re here to help. For any questions that are not covered by the Challenge Handbook or this FAQ section, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing ‘Evidence Challenge’ in the subject line.
If you missed our webinar on 5 December, you can watch it below.
In this webinar, we share:
Our WASH Innovation Catalogue contains most of the current or previous HIF-funded projects eligible for funding in this Challenge. Read through to find the WASH project you're most interested in and then use the contact details listed inside to get in touch. Your chosen HIF innovation should have completed at least one pilot in at least one humanitarian setting. Please note: the Catalogue also includes R2HC-funded studies (in the section 'Other Elrha WASH Projects'). These are not eligible for this Challenge.
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