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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The ‘Who funds what? Humanitarian research and innovation funding flows analysis’ is the first attempt to track humanitarian research and innovation (HRI) funding allocations within the humanitarian system*. Accompanied by the policy brief they both make the case for improved tracking of HRI funding flows. 

We know that sectors that consistently invest in research and development are more productive and adaptive than those that do not. Our research demonstrates that the humanitarian system is investing in research and innovation (R&I). However, our knowledge of where this investment is going and what difference it is making remains patchy at best.

Key findings from the analysis:

  • The complexity and diversity of the funding mechanism for research and innovation requires better reporting tools to understand how much is being spent.
  • There is an urgent need to improve our knowledge about the destination of HRI funding. This will enable better coordination at all levels of the system to ensure that resources are targeted to areas and populations with the most pressing needs.
  • There is a remarkable disparity between the locations of funding recipients compared to the geographical focus of the research and innovation activities themselves; with most of the research and innovation resources both provided and received by actors in high-income countries.

The policy brief builds on the analysis and makes the case to:

  • Build stronger relationships and bring funders outside of the humanitarian system into the R&I ecosystem.
  • More work and commitment need to be made to shift priority setting, decision-making and funding allocations to those who are close to where humanitarian needs are experienced.
  • Improve the way the humanitarian system reports its spending on research and innovation by creating better frameworks.

“The Global Prioritisation Exercise is so important because by investing strategically in research and innovation, we can accelerate the change needed to improve the lives of people affected by crisis. The world’s most vulnerable need an effective and coordinated humanitarian response.”

– Mark Bowden, Chair, GPE Reference Group

* This exercise only analysed the data reported publicly regarding the number and value of HRI projects in International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Financial Tracking Service (FTS). The exercise did not take into account the funding committed or provided by individual funders, which might not be reported to IATI, OECD CRS and OCHA FTS or might be reported elsewhere. As such, these findings should be seen as only one part of the true picture of the HRI funding landscape. They would need to be complemented by further research to generate a full understanding of the current funding landscape.

What is the Global Prioritisation Exercise?

The Global Prioritisation Exercise (GPE) aims to improve outcomes for people affected by crisis by amplifying the impact of investments in research and innovation and understanding the priorities at all levels. It will provide a detailed overview of the progress and performance of the humanitarian research and innovation ecosystem with a clear set of priorities for research and innovation funding and attention.

Find out more about the GPE

Related Events

Follow the money: a deep dive into investments for humanitarian research and innovation

11 May 2022, 13:00-14:30 BST Hybrid: Geneva, Switzerland or virtually (Zoom)
View report (Accessible PDF) View policy brief

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