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

R2HC Support Application guidance
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.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...
Application guidance

Application guidance

Last updated 27/07/2022


Our Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises programme aims to improve health outcomes for people affected by humanitarian crises by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions. R2HC encourages world class research through fostering collaboration between operational humanitarian agencies and research institutions. R2HC aims to bridge the gap between research and practice in relation to public health interventions in humanitarian crises.

R2HC offers funding for a range of humanitarian research studies through applications to our specific funding opportunities including the Annual Open and Formative Research Call as well as Responsive and Thematic Calls.

Concepts and framing

Research uptake

For R2HC it is crucial that research we fund has a measurable, positive impact on improving the public health response in humanitarian crises. This commitment is reflected in the grants that we fund; all applicants are asked to submit with their proposals a clear vision for impact, demonstrating that the evidence they will produce can lead to tangible changes for people affected by crisis.

They are asked to outline their intended ‘pathways to uptake’, detailing how they will ensure that humanitarian stakeholders can access, use and apply the learning and findings generated by the study. R2HC supports grantees post-award to develop research impact goals and stakeholder engagement strategies to amplify learning and promote use of evidence using our Research Impact Toolkit, via team workshops, peer learning activities and through providing tools and resources.

We have also written a report on ‘From Knowing to Doing‘ to inform the humanitarian health research community about evidence use to help study teams overcome barriers to uptake and deliver greater impact through research.

The resources below outline our research uptake requirements at the application stage. Prospective applicants should refer to these to help ensure they prepare an effective proposal.

Contact to find out more about our approach to uptake and impact.

Funding calls

R2HC offers a range of research opportunities, recognising the value of shorter and longer-term research in response to a range of existing and unforeseen research needs. These include:

  • Annual Open Research: this is a funding mechanism for research that is usually 2-3 years in length, open in scope to any topic relevant that address any critical public health evidence gap that seeks to inform humanitarian health response. We have launched eight-open research calls since 2013.
  • Responsive research: this funding mechanism responds to unforeseen crises, such as recent COVID-19 and Ebola outbreaks. It aims to fund rapid research, usually 3-12 months in length, which can inform the crisis response in real-time.
  • Formative research: this is funding for exploratory research addressing any critical public health evidence gap, that contributes to the design of a longer-term study. Studies are usually 18-24 months long. Calls for Formative research applications are run in parallel to our Annual Open research calls.
  • Thematic research: this funding mechanism enables us to launch research funding calls focused on specific health themes or approaches. This will help to build bodies of evidence in thematic areas, responding to identified research gaps and priorities.
  • Seed fund grants: we offer seed grants to support shortlisted applicants in our Annual open research calls. These small grants support research teams to strengthen their research partnerships. They are also used to improve knowledge of research settings and build relationships with communities affected by humanitarian crises and other stakeholders.

Connecting you with experts

We collaborate with a wide network of humanitarian health researchers and practitioners. We can put you in touch with experienced academics or practitioners from many different thematic fields if you need support in developing your research team. Just write to us letting us know what you’re looking for.

Technical guidance

Health economists

R2HC is keen for applicants to consider how health economics can be applied in their studies. Cost analyses often provide important data which can inform humanitarian decision-makers. We have connections with a number of health economists working in humanitarian health research, and can facilitate connections for applicants interested in including economic analysis into proposals.

In March 2021, health economists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine presented a webinar outlining how health economics can be used to strengthen humanitarian health research. Watch it again here.

Quality of Care

In February 2021, a team from the World Health Organization delivered a webinar focused on quality of care. They introduced a technical package on quality of care in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable settings. The package presents a flexible approach to planning action on quality, focused around implementation of a set of evidence-informed quality interventions. The webinar explored ways in which quality of care can be incorporated in research proposals. Watch it again here.


Am I eligible for funding?

Any not-for profit organisation based in any country is eligible to apply for funding. However, you need to be a legally registered organisation and you need a bank account registered to that organisation. If you are selected for funding, you will need to be able to pass our Due Diligence process and agree to our standard terms and conditions.

In addition to the above, every funding opportunity is unique and will have its own assessment criteria. The assessment criteria will be outlined in the Call Guidelines which you can find on the Funding Opportunities page. We recommend that you carefully review the Call Guidelines and make sure you meet the scope and assessment criteria, and then demonstrate this as explicitly as possible in your application.

How do I register my interest and apply for funding?

Each of R2HC’s funding opportunities will be advertised in our newsletters and on the Funding Opportunities page of our website. This will be your opportunity to apply, if you feel you are eligible and can match the call’s criteria. We are only able to accept applications in response to a specific funding call.

You must submit your application via our online application system by the given deadline. You can find out more about how to do this in the Call Guidelines. All applications must be submitted in English.

Sign up to receive our newsletters to be the first to hear about available funding.

Do I need a partnership?

Yes. At a minimum we require a partnership between an academic or research institution from the country(s) or region(s) in which the study will take place and one operational humanitarian partner.

Any of the partners can be the lead organisation for the application.

Do I need to be registered in the UK to be able to apply?

No, applicants can come from any part of the world.

What types of cost will R2HC cover?

R2HC’s eligible costs guidance document outlines what costs may be included in the budgets submitted as part of your proposals.

R2HC will allow organisations to request up to 10% of the project costs as overheads. To be considered, these will need to be fully justified.

R2HC will not generally pay for the costs of interventions. If the proposed research is linked to continuation of a specific intervention over the research period, evidence must be provided in the proposal that (other) funds are available to cover such costs. If in doubt, please email for clarification.

Will you provide funds to support existing research projects?

Applicants with existing funded research projects that are aligned with the R2HC objectives and Call criteria may apply for additional funding from the R2HC in order to expand an element of the current research.

The application will need to clearly describe the existing initiative and additional funds requested, as well as the additional research outputs that will be attributable to the R2HC funds.

Can we submit more than one Expression of Interest?

Yes. We regularly receive applications from different faculties or departments in the same academic institution, or from different ‘branches’ of the same humanitarian organisation. Each proposal is considered on its own merit.

As an individual, you can also be named as part of the research team in more than one application, and in different capacities. However, if you are named as Principal Investigator in more than one proposal, and were invited to develop Full Proposals in relation to each Expression of Interest, if more than one proposal was ranked highly and recommended for funding only one would be funded.

Can I submit my application in any language?

No. Applications must be submitted in English. However, R2HC does enable Full Proposals to be prepared in French and costs for translation into English can then be refunded by R2HC. If you are interested in using this mechanism, please contact us by email at

Will I receive feedback on my application even if I am not selected to go forward to the Full Proposals stage?

We will do our best to provide brief feedback to applicants on each Expression of Interest.

How is the final list of grants selected?

Each application will be assessed on individual merit.

Each Full Proposal will be reviewed by at least two independent experts from fields corresponding to the proposed thematic focus and/or geographic context of study. Taking these reviews into consideration, the final assessment of research proposals will be conducted by the independent Funding Committee managed by Elrha. You can find the assessment criteria within the Call Guidelines.

The Funding Committee will be using a standardised scoring system to assess the quality of the proposals. The highest quality proposals will be funded up to the limits of the R2HC budget.

Will R2HC cover additional costs if there is a currency exchange loss before or during the project?

No. R2HC is unable to cover the costs of any currency exchange loss. The responsibility for managing exchange loss (and gain) lies with grantees, as is noted in the Grant Agreement. You can find a copy of Elrha’s standard Grant Agreement here. Resources cannot be allocated within a budget as a ‘contingency’ for currency exchange loss.

More information can be found in Elrha’s Foreign Currency Guidance.

Where can I find more information on the grants funded in the earlier R2HC Calls?

Further details of these grants are available via the What We Fund page of Elrha’s website.

Up next...

Subscribe to our newsletters....

Elrha © 2018 - 2024 Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110). KEEP IN TOUCH Want to stay up to date with our latest updates? Sign up to our newsletters
Elrha Please upgrade your browser

You are seeing this because you are using a browser that is not supported. The Elrha website is built using modern technology and standards. We recommend upgrading your browser with one of the following to properly view our website:

Windows Mac

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of browsers. We also do not intend to recommend a particular manufacturer's browser over another's; only to suggest upgrading to a browser version that is compliant with current standards to give you the best and most secure browsing experience.