Creating Hope in Conflict – A Humanitarian Grand Challenge

Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) is dedicated to supporting ‘bold ideas with big impact’ and funds innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada.

The Creating Hope in Conflict – A Humanitarian Grand Challenge is administered by GCC and seeks life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hard to reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. Grand challenges bring global attention and resources to specific, well-defined international problems and promote innovative approaches to solving them.

This scheme has been developed and funded by GCC, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Currently, over 201 million people require humanitarian assistance. Millions of the most vulnerable people in conflict zones are unreachable by traditional humanitarian aid delivery. As the length, complexity, frequency and scope of armed conflicts increase, it is progressively more difficult to reach affected people in insecure areas with life-saving and life-improving humanitarian assistance.

Innovations must involve a connection to the private sector and input from conflict-affected communities in order to provide, supply or locally generate solutions to the issues of drinking water, sanitation, energy, life-saving information, health supplies and health services. Projects are expected to take an ‘Integrated Innovation’ approach, defined as the coordinated application of scientific/technological, social and business innovation to develop solutions to complex challenges.

The priority areas for funding are:

Safe water and sanitation


Life-saving information

Health products and services

This scheme is open to social enterprises and other recognised institutions (eg non-profit organisations and for-profit companies) that are formed and legally incorporated, that can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area, and that are capable of receiving and administering grant funding. A project can have only one Project Lead, who must be affiliated with the institution from which the proposal is being submitted.

Collaboration with the private sector is strongly encouraged (and is a requirement for TTS funding – see below). The private sector is defined as for-profit entities at the local, national or multinational level. Private sector entities are also encouraged to apply for funding.

The priority is to serve those living in conflict zones. The countries/areas that are considered to be hard to reach conflict zones include, but are not limited to:


Central African Republic




Northern Nigeria


South Sudan


Democratic Republic of Congo


There are no geographical restrictions on the applicant. Legally formed organisations that are not the subject of US, UK, Dutch, European Union, World Bank, Canadian or United Nations Security Council sanctions are eligible to apply for funding.

Funding is available as follows:

Seed Funding

The objective of seed funding is to test new ideas and approaches to humanitarian assistance.

Funding of up to CAD$250,000 per project over a maximum of two years is available.

It is anticipated that up to 25 seed grants will be made available through this call.

Transition To Scale (TTS) Funding

Strategic partnerships are required for the transition to scale and sustainability of innovative solutions.

Funding of up to CAD$1,000,000 per project over a maximum of two years is available.

It is anticipated that up to five TTS projects will be supported through this call.

Most awardees will be required to secure match funding from strategic partners within the TTS funding period.

Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 16 July 2019 (11am, ET).

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.