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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In 2017/18, our innovation programme (the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (the HIF)) underwent an external evaluation and strategy development to inform it’s future direction, reflecting on what was working well and what could be improved. We made some changes that would help us to address bigger and more complex problems, starting with what, and how, we fund.

We ended our ‘core grants’ style of funding and redirected our grant funding and support to our existing and new focus areas in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Gender-based Violence; Disability and Older Age Inclusion; Scaling, and Localisation.

We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of our governance groups who help to steer us strategically in all we do through the HIF, like our Funding Committee, Advisory Group and Technical Working Groups. Since we embarked on our new funding direction, we’ve worked closely with these groups to seek feedback on how our funding processes and decision making was working for all involved.

After a period of review, we realised we needed to make the role of our Funding Committee clearer and more aligned with our targeted and thematic funding opportunities. After working closely with Funding Committee members, we have agreed that the best way to do this is to bring the current Committee to an end, and build a new one – one that responds to our updated Terms of Reference, is selected through an open recruitment process, has the varied areas of expertise we need, and is gender balanced.

We are incredibly grateful to our current Committee for the support they have given us over many years, the time they have dedicated, and the invaluable expertise they have shared, which has enabled us to fund over 160 promising solutions.

We could not have done it without them, and would like to say a heartfelt thank you to:

Reemi MHM project, photo credit: Reemi Charitable Trust
  • (Chair) David Sanderson, Professor and Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair in Architecture, University of New South Wales
  • Andrew Collins, Professor in Disaster and Development, Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northumbria University
  • Shaun Hazeldine, Head – Innovation and Futures, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Laura Walker McDonald, Senior Director, Insights & Impact, Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) at the United Nations Foundation
  • Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor, ICT4Peace Foundation
  • Iain Stewart, Independent Security, Risk and Resilience Advisor
  • Romola Sanyal, Associate Professor of Urban Geography, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science

David Sanderson

Former HIF Funding Committee Chair

My heartfelt thanks go to all the members of the Funding Committee, past and present, for their wisdom, insight and dedication to humanitarian innovation. The changes being made are testimony to the HIF’s own commitment to continuously innovate, learn and improve. For anyone thinking to apply to join the new Funding Committee - vibrancy, dynamism and a firm commitment to defeating humanitarian crises are the criteria. Who could ask for a better challenge?

Jess Camburn

CEO, Elrha

It has been an honour and a privilege to work with our Funding Committee members and we simply cannot thank them enough for the dedication and passion they have brought to our HIF programme over the years. The innovations they have selected for support are making a real difference –it is thanks to their careful scrutiny and belief in our work that we are now witnessing innovation credibly being considered as a frontline response!

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