Round 3 of ‘Creating Hope in Conflict – A Humanitarian Grand Challenge’ Now Open

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 hardest to reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. In this instance, innovation is defined as a bold idea (or ideas) with the potential to fundamentally transform how life-saving and life-improving solutions reach and help the most vulnerable people affected by conflict. It involves approaching a problem in a substantially new and different way to existing efforts, and can also include trying existing ideas in new contexts.

The scheme has been developed and funded by GCC, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Projects must focus on addressing the most acute needs of people affected by conflict that have the potential to be solved by innovation in one or more of the following four areas:

Safe water and sanitation (transition to scale funding only; not open for seed-stage funding).


Life-saving information.

Health supplies and services.

Innovations that can help to address one or more of the following themes are encouraged:

Gender equity.

Climate resilience.

Community cohesion and empowerment.

Projects must enable local solutions, serve local needs and delivery gaps, overcome common delivery barriers in conflict settings, and/or improve on the timeliness and cost efficiency of current humanitarian delivery methods. Innovations are also expected to demonstrate the potential to create wider systems change in humanitarian aid delivery and a connection or potential relevance to the private sector.

Funding through the initiative is available as seed funding (testing new ideas and approaches to humanitarian assistance to determine whether or not they are effective) and transition to scale (TTS) funding (refining, testing and implementing innovative solutions that have already achieved proof of concept).

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. The private sector is defined as for-profit entities at the local, national or multinational level. Inclusion of the private sector in applications may be either through financial or in-kind engagement, or collaboration. 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: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Northern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen.

There are no geographical restrictions on the applicant, however, funding will not be given to any person or organisation named in US, UK, Dutch, European Union, World Bank, Canadian or United Nations Security Council sanctions.

Funding is available as follows:

Seed funding

Funding of up to CAD$250,000 per project over a maximum of 18 months is available.

It is anticipated that up to 15 seed grants will be made available through this call.

In addition to award funding, awardees may receive additional support, such as: publicity and marketing promotional support; access to exclusive industry, investor and partner networking events; and basic acceleration support, mentorship opportunities and partnership brokering.

TTS funding

Funding of up to CAD$3 million per project over a maximum of 18 months is available.

It is anticipated that up to eight 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 November 2020 (11:00 ET/15:00 GMT).

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.