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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2024 promises to be a busy year for the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme.  

Our programme impact evaluation, conducted last year, demonstrated the ongoing need for the R2HC programme, highlighting the unique niche that we occupy. 

“ other funder has R2HC’s combination of a focus on humanitarian settings; competitive calls (including thematically open calls); a focus on operational impact as a funding requirement and throughout the grants; and support to methodologically rigorous research.”- 2023 R2HC evaluation report

The evaluation, along with its recommendations and our response, is now available on our website. This, as well as Elrha’s ambitious 10-year strategy, have informed our priorities for 2024. 

Our priorities: 

We will be acting on our long-term commitments to shifting the power, anti-racism, and the climate crisis.

Our response to the evaluation recommendations identifies key actions to support the decolonisation of global health research, from diversifying our governance groups to better supporting LMIC-based researchers and institutions.

With our ambition to help minimise the impact of human-induced climate change on the world’s most vulnerable people, we are exploring the impact on health in humanitarian settings of the climate crisis, with a view to shaping future research calls. Collaborating with Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) programme, we’re also identifying research and innovation prospects to adapt Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) humanitarian responses to the climate crisis. Initial findings will be shared at the Emergency Environmental Health Forum later this year.

We are looking ahead to our upcoming Research Forum in 2025.

This will be a further opportunity to translate our commitments into action. We are planning to hold the event in a country affected by crisis, possibly Kenya, and to co-host it with a national institution. As with our 2017 and 2019 Forums held in the UK, we will convene members of the humanitarian research community to share best practices, showcase critical research, and identify solutions to address key health evidence gaps through research. Preceding the Forum, we will also hold a series of webinars to engage a wider audience in dialogue, collaboration, and knowledge exchange.   

Currently, we’re in the process of recruiting members for a Steering Committee to ensure a stimulating and relevant agenda for the Forum and webinar series. More information will be shared about our plans as these take shape.   

We will not be launching an annual research call this year.

This is due to the time frames of our current funding agreements. As we explore possibilities for new research funding, we will continue to work with existing and former grantees to maximise the impact of their grants. This will include developing a new partnership tool, translating and promoting our research impact resources, and supporting grantees to platform the outputs of their research. Following the launch of our impact case studies last year, we will evaluate the immediate and long-term impact of more of our closed grants this year. 

We will continue to support research agenda setting and to advocate for the importance of humanitarian health research.

We will engage stakeholders to promote the WASH and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support research agendas and will soon launch the findings of a priority research setting focusing on cardio-metabolic syndrome (read more in this blog). We will work with the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) community of practice to identify critical evidence gaps where research and innovation have the potential to inform SRH humanitarian response. Additionally, we will launch the literature review that will inform the consultation phase of our innovative research programme that will package together and test evidence-based interventions to prevent undernutrition in food insecure contexts. Stakeholder consultations are planned for later this year. 

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