USAID/DFID Humanitarian Grand Challenge 2018 for Innovators Worldwide

USAID/DFID Humanitarian Grand Challenge 2018 for Innovators Worldwide

Deadline: April 12, 2018

Calling on innovators around the world to submit ideas to save and improve the lives of people affected by humanitarian crises. Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge is a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and Grand Challenges Canada. They are looking for life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict.

Through this Grand Challenge, they will identify and support groundbreaking solutions that engage the private sector and draw from the experiences of affected communities in order to significantly improve – and in many cases, save – the lives of vulnerable people affected by conflict. Their goal is to identify solutions that allow communities to respond more nimbly to complex emergencies and take steps to create better lives for themselves.

Focus Areas

  1. Safe Water and Sanitation: We are looking for bold ideas, technologies, processes and approaches that enable rapid provision of safe water and safe disposal of waste and sewage in the most vulnerable households and/or enable implementers to rapidly scale up programs.
  2. Energy: We are looking for bold ideas to generate energy. We are particularly interested in alternative energy solutions that are possible to set up and maintain in conflict situations, and that power life-saving and life-improving services such as health, information, water and sanitation, and education.
  3. Life-Saving Information: We are looking for bold ideas that use and improve access to information and data to increase the impact of humanitarian assistance at the local level as well as enable more effective connections between affected populations and humanitarian actors.
  4. Health Products and Services: We are looking for bold ideas that enable non-experts  to provide quality care; empower skilled staff who choose to work in conflict zones; allow faster or less costly importation and distribution of quality essential health supplies in conflict zones; and enable affected communities to manufacture necessary high quality and safe supplies, or sterilize and reuse them.


Awardees of the first call for innovations are eligible for a host of benefits. These benefits include Seed or Transition to Scale Funding, publicity and marketing promotional support, exclusive industry, investor, and partner networking events, solution development acceleration support, mentorship opportunities, and partnership brokering support.

  •  Seed Funding: We expect to fund approximately 10-15 seed projects. Successful proposals for seed funding will each be awarded grants of up to $250,000 CAD over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months to support the validation and testing of new approaches.
  •  Transition to Scale Funding: We expect to fund between 2 and 4 Transition-to-Scale projects for up to $1,000,000 CAD with technical support over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months to support the refinement, testing, and implementation of innovative solutions that have already achieved proof of concept.


  • They seek innovations that focus on people who are particularly vulnerable in conflict-affected humanitarian crisis. This includes people who are vulnerable due to their gender, sexuality, religion, age, or income; people with disabilities, chronic health conditions, people who are stateless, minorities, or people who are unable to evacuate.
  • Eligible applicants include recognized institutions (e.g., social enterprises, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies) that are formed and legally registered and can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area, and 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.
  • A Project Lead may only be listed on one (1) application to this Request for Proposals. An institution may be the applicant on multiple applications, provided all applications have different Project Leads.
  • Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the Review Committee.


Applicants are encouraged to access Grand Challenge Canada’s online Innovator Toolbox, which contains materials to help researchers and innovators to develop their project proposals and to plan for how their innovation will go to scale, be sustained, and have global impact.

 * Once you have created an account, please allow up to one (1) business day for Grand Challenges Canada to process your account request. Therefore, please create an account no later than 9 April 2018. Applicants may return to the Community Portal to continue working on their application at any time until 12 April 2018, 15:30 GMT. For technical support, please contact [email protected]

Apply to the Humanitarian Grand Challenge

For more information, visit Humanitarian Grand Challenge.