Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Creating Hope in Conflict - A Humanitarian Grand Challenge

Seeks solutions that enable life-saving or life-improving assistance to reach people affected by conflict-generated humanitarian crises.

U.S. Agency for International Development

Type of Challenge: Ideas
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: US Agency for International Development, UK Department for International Development, Grand Challenges Canada
Submission Start: 02/19/2018 10:30 AM ET
Submission End: 04/12/2018 11:30 AM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here:


Today, over 136 million people require humanitarian assistance. Hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people in conflict zones are currently unreachable by traditional humanitarian aid delivery. As the length, 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. International aid agencies face challenges in delivering humanitarian aid in conflict-affected contexts, including damaged infrastructure, aid diversion, corruption and threats of violence. Local responders are often better placed to reach affected people in insecure settings, but lack the funding or resources, or the capacity to provide aid in hard-to-reach places. As the scale of humanitarian emergencies continues to grow at a rate that surpasses the capacity of any one partner or sector to respond, new ways of thinking and working together are imperative. Engagement with the private sector is essential in developing new approaches to complement traditional ways of delivering humanitarian aid. The private sector is often uniquely effective at scaling sustainable solutions and in improving the speed, quality and cost-efficiency of delivering or manufacturing commodities and utilities, recycling products and financing or developing innovative solutions. To improve assistance in conflict-generated crises, the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and Grand Challenges Canada have launched Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge. THE GRAND CHALLENGE We seek life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. These innovations will involve a connection to the private sector and input from affected communities in order to provide, supply, or locally generate safe drinking water and sanitation, energy, life-saving information, or health supplies and services to help conflict-affected people. AREAS OF FOCUS The Humanitarian Grand Challenge is focused on addressing the most acute needs in conflict-affected areas that have the potential to be solved by innovation in one or more of the following four areas: (1) safe water and sanitation; (2) energy; (3) life-saving information; or (4) health supplies and services. Innovations must enable local solutions, serve local needs and delivery gaps, overcome common delivery barriers in conflict settings, or improve on the timeliness and cost efficiency of current humanitarian delivery methods. The focus areas are described in detail below. Safe Water and Sanitation Roadblock: Lack of safe water sources and sanitation in conflict settings. Context: Approximately 53.5 million people in the world’s most challenging humanitarian emergencies require safe water and sanitation. Adequate access to safe water and basic sanitation is critical to prevent skin disease and waterborne diseases; for example, diarrheal diseases, which is the second leading cause of death globally for children under five, with 88% of deaths attributable to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene. Yet, managing the spread of diseases in conflict is made particularly difficult by the disruption or destruction of existing waste management, water treatment and distribution systems. People who are displaced by conflict are often at a higher risk of infection by waterborne pathogens because of the resulting poor and crowded living conditions, combined with poor nutrition and limited healthcare. We invite 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. Energy Roadblock: A lack of reliable, accessible and sustainable electricity options in conflict settings. Context: It is estimated that 83 million people in the world’s most challenging humanitarian emergencies are without access to electricity. Currently, much of the electricity in conflict zones comes from generators and is therefore reliant on diesel, which needs costly and difficult transportation, and can also be diverted to fuel weapons of war. Electricity is needed to run:
  • Health services, such as lighting for surgery, dialysis machines and oxygen manufacturing
  • Water pumping and purification
  • Household needs
  • Information and communications systems
We invite bold ideas to generate energy. We are particularly interested in alternative energy solutions that are possible to set up and maintain in conflict situations to power life-saving and life-improving services, such as health, information, water and sanitation, and education. Life-saving Information Roadblock: Conflict impedes access to vital information at three levels: among members of affected populations, among humanitarian organizations, and between humanitarian organizations and affected people. Context: Information exchange modalities are disrupted or deliberately targeted by armed actors. With disrupted communications and transportation infrastructure, critical information is difficult to gather, communicate and analyze, which denies affected populations the ability to meet their needs locally or to safely connect with humanitarian actors to receive assistance. Delivery of appropriate humanitarian assistance risks delay or failure when information on local conditions is incomplete, outdated or faulty. 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 to enable more effective connections for affected populations and humanitarian actors. Health Supplies and Services Roadblock: Lack of sufficient and effective medical supplies and services in conflict. Context: In the most challenging conflict-affected humanitarian emergencies globally, approximately 44.7 million people lack basic access to medical care. Supply chain disruptions, such as blockades, attacks on humanitarian workers and sieges, make it difficult to import and distribute necessary health supplies. Additionally, health facilities are left without highly skilled staff and lack access to essential medical supplies and services. We are looking for bold solutions that:
  • Enable non-expert people 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
  • Enable affected communities to manufacture necessary high-quality and safe supplies, or to sterilize and reuse them.
Depending on the quality of proposals received, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge retains the right to narrow the focus to one or more of the above areas. Proposals that address more than one sector are very welcome. MEETING THE NEEDS OF AFFECTED POPULATIONS The Humanitarian Grand Challenge is focused on helping people who are hardest-to-reach as a result of conflict-generated humanitarian emergencies. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) provides examples of some of the most challenging current humanitarian crises: We will also consider innovations that are focused on reaching people affected by natural disasters, but they must also be relevant in conflict-generated emergencies. We encourage innovations that focus on people who are socially marginalized because of their gender, sex, sexuality, religion, age or income, as well as people with disabilities, minorities and people who are stateless. AVAILABLE FUNDING Seed Funding The objective of seed funding is to test new ideas and approaches to humanitarian assistance, to determine whether or not they are effective. By the end of the funding period, projects that receive seed funding are expected to demonstrate evidence (e.g., proof of concept), in a controlled or limited setting, that there is greater assistance in the target region, lower reliance on importations, and/or reduction of other significant barrier(s) to obtaining assistance as a result of the project, as well as that the innovation has the potential to be implemented at scale in other contexts. Through this Request for Proposals, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will award seed funding of up to $250,000 CAD per project over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months. 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. The level of funding requested should be sufficient to assure completion of the goals in the stated time frame and must be fully justified. We expect to award 10–15 seed grants through this Request for Proposals. At the end of the seed funding stage, if having achieved proof of concept, innovations may be invited to apply to the transition-to-scale funding track. To receive seed funding, applicants must demonstrate potential relevance to or identify potential opportunities for collaboration with the private sector. Transition to Scale (TTS) Funding Strategic partnerships are required for the transition to scale and sustainability of innovative solutions. Matched funding (cash) from strategic partners for activities that further the growth, development, commercialization or adoption of the innovation (e.g., manufacturing, distribution, marketing, networks) will be interpreted as an increased commitment by a partner. Most awardees will be required to secure a 1:1 match within the TTS funding period; however, this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis during the due diligence process. Strategic partners may provide human and other non-financial resources to the project activities; however, awardees are not allowed to rely only upon these types of in-kind contributions to meet the matching requirements. Through this Request for Proposals, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will award Transition To Scale funding of up to $1,000,000 CAD per project over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months. The level of funding requested should be sufficient to assure completion of the goals in the stated timeframe and must be fully justified. We expect to invest in two to four Transition to Scale projects; they may be grants, repayable grants, interest-free loans, interest-bearing loans, convertible debt, pay-on-results contracts or a combination thereof. The choice of investment structure is informed by (i) the organization’s stage and path to scale (e.g., for-profit or non-profit), (ii) the structure’s ability to attract additional sources of capital, including private partners, as follow-on investors, (iii) the potential effect on the intervention’s impact and on the organization’s sustainability, including its ability to become self-sustaining, (iv) the desire to encourage return of funds when investments scale successfully and profitably. The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will support networking of funded innovators with private sector, humanitarian actors and other stakeholders to increase the likelihood of success. Technical and advisory support may be provided to nurture the scalability and sustainability of humanitarian innovations. In addition, 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. The provision of funds to innovators is subject to the release of funds to Grand Challenges Canada from our funder(s). FOCUS ON RESULTS The ultimate outcomes of interest for this Humanitarian Grand Challenge are lives saved and lives improved of conflict-affected people. Other qualitative and quantitative results should be collected to best demonstrate the impact of the innovation. Given that the true impact of innovations is in the future, proposals must include a plan of how relevant immediate and intermediate indicators will be monitored and evaluated over the life of the project. For innovations that are not successful, it is expected innovators will be able to articulate why they did not work, in order to accelerate progress in the sector. Dependent on funding, we aim to bring successful innovators together to share lessons learned and ideas. COMMUNICATING RESULTS Communicating results is an important part of the project’s accountability to the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners and other key stakeholders. Innovators should consider how results will be disseminated in order to drive the innovation’s impact, scale and sustainability. While communicating results through scientific publications can be an effective, this should not be the primary objective of projects. For more information see Appendix A. ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR Given the current scale of humanitarian needs, this challenge is too great for one sector to solve alone. Private sector approaches to testing, effectively scaling sustainable solutions, improving the speed, quality and cost-efficiency of manufacturing commodities and utilities, recycling products and financing innovative solutions can result in more effective and impactful solutions. The private sector can contribute valuable technical expertise, risk management, and access to networks and data, and may often have detailed knowledge about local conditions. For instance, small local businesses are often critical in providing life-saving and life-improving commodities in the wake of armed conflict. Innovators are encouraged to engage the core competencies of the private sector into their design or partner with the private sector in order to maximize the impact of their innovations. To receive seed funding, applicants must demonstrate potential relevance to, or identify potential opportunities for collaboration with, the private sector. To receive transition-to-scale funding, engagement with the private sector is required. Innovators are expected to engage private sector actors who can help to fill a critical gap needed to scale or improve their innovation. This may include technical expertise, distribution channels, access to data, local knowledge, financial backing, or other core capacities or collaboration. In some circumstances, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners may be able to assist in finding appropriate private sector partners, as long as applicants are able to articulate their needs. Though it is strongly preferred, secured commitment of private sector engagement are not required at the time of application. The private sector is defined as for-profit entities at the local, national or multinational level, and refers to the following organizations and actors:
  • Private for-profit entities, such as a business, corporation, or private firms
  • Private equity or private financial institutions, including private investment firms, mutual funds or insurance companies
  • Private investors (individuals or groups)
  • Private business or industry associations, including but not limited to chambers of commerce and related types of entities
  • Private grant-making foundations or philanthropic entities.
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. INTEGRATED INNOVATION 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. This approach does not discount the singular benefits of each of these types of innovation alone, but rather highlights the powerful synergies that can be realized by aligning all three. For more info, please see: SCALE AND SUSTAINABILITY For the Humanitarian Grand Challenge, sustainability refers to the ability for successful innovations to be readily deployed in ongoing and future contexts, and scale refers to the ability for successful innovations to reach the highest number of people who will benefit as possible. Proposals should convincingly describe how their projects will eventually reach scale and be sustained. Innovators should use seed funding to test paths to scale and sustainability, and must have a robust plan and proven concept in order to receive transition-to-scale funding. Transition To Scale applicants must already have developed a strong plan for scale and sustainability, including commitments from key stakeholders and partners needed to proceed along a path to scale and sustainability. Understanding of Conflict-Generated Crises To help ensure sustainable impact at scale, it is essential that project teams include individuals with an understanding of the local social, political and economic context. In doing so, projects can better address the needs of affected people and identify risks to project success. Stakeholder Engagement People affected by conflict and those who will ultimately make decisions about the use of the solution, such as humanitarian agencies (local, national or international), United Nations agencies, Red Cross entities or non-traditional responders (faith-based groups, local community groups) are expected be engaged at the outset and throughout the life of the project. Input and engagement of these types of organizations throughout the project lifecycle is crucial, as they will be involved in the evaluation process. This will help to ensure that the solution will be poised for initial adoption and subsequent adaptation, leading to greater impact. Additionally, stakeholders can offer insight on their community and identify the factors necessary for project success. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, GENDER EQUALITY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND INCLUSION Innovators funded under this Humanitarian Grand Challenge must comply with Grand Challenges Canada’s policies on Environmental Sustainability, Gender Equality, Human Rights and Inclusion. Environmental Sustainability Applicants are required to commit to ensuring that the innovation will not have material adverse environmental effects, including but not limited to long-term and cumulative effects. Where possible, innovators should incorporate having positive environmental effects throughout the project. Gender Equality The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners are committed to furthering principles of gender equality in the projects funded, with the following objectives: (1) advancing women's equal participation with men as decision-makers in shaping the sustainable development of their societies; (2) supporting women and girls in the realization of their full human rights; and (3) reducing gender inequalities. Female applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Human Rights and Inclusion The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners are committed to furthering principles of human rights and inclusion in the innovations funded. Innovations should take into account the voices of those who are particularly marginalized in the design and implementation of the innovation, to ensure that their needs are addressed appropriately. GLOBAL ACCESS, DATA ACCESS AND ETHICS The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners are committed to fostering meaningful access to supported innovations for the target population of each funded project, promoting prompt and open dissemination of research findings and data arising from funded activities, and ensuring that funded research is conducted in a manner that complies with relevant ethical standards. These commitments are embodied in Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Access Policy, Data Access Policy and Ethics Policy, which should be carefully reviewed by all applicants before submission. RISK MANAGEMENT, SAFETY, ANTI-TERRORISM, ANTI-CORRUPTION, ANTI-BRIBERY Proposals will need to comply with all relevant U.S. and Canadian legislation, including anti-bribery and anti-terrorism legislation. Funding will not be given to any person or organisation named in US, UK, European Union, World Bank, Canadian, or United Nations Security Council sanctions; we may add to this list as more partners join the challenge. All innovators are expected to manage material risks. For projects that include work in insecure locations, proposals will require details about the management of safety and security risks as they pertain to both people and assets. Proposals must also explain how corruption will be avoided, and what steps will be taken to avoid diversion of aid away from affected people. WHAT WE WILL NOT FUND
  1. Formal education
  2. Approaches that utilize security-related surveillance, weapons, force or similar technologies
  3. Discovery science, merely capacity-building initiatives, ongoing programmatic funding or infrastructure development
  4. Projects that involve establishing proof of concept of innovations for which the core intellectual property rights are owned by a third-party institution, unless either: (a) the third-party institution has granted the applicant sufficient license rights to the innovation to permit eventual scaling in relevant countries, or (b) the third-party institution is willing to sign an undertaking to Grand Challenges Canada committing to comply with Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Access Policy:
All criteria are subject to change as new funders join the challenge; updates will be published on the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the Humanitarian Grand Challenge website. Activities and Deliverables Innovators funded under this program will be expected to engage in the following activities and provide the specific deliverables listed below, in order to demonstrate project progress and success:
  1. Performance reporting focused on utilization of funds and outcomes achieved. The frequency of reporting will be every three or six months, depending on our assessment of project and institutional risk.
  2. Dissemination of knowledge in a timely manner, including through social media, open access publications, depositing of data into publicly accessible repositories, press releases, conferences, stakeholder engagement, etc. Acknowledgement of the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners will be required.
  3. A final report that accounts for financial expenditures and that captures a clear assessment of the impact of the project. Please note that a 5% hold back of funds will be applied to all funding under this program, to be released to innovators upon submission of a satisfactory final report and full justification of costs.
  4. Continued post-grant updates on impact, global access, data access and management of intellectual property rights in supported innovations. Instructions for reporting will be provided to successful recipients. Written progress reports and conversations via teleconference may be required to satisfy reporting requirements. In addition to the above-mentioned activities, innovators will be expected to:
    • Participate in public engagement activities.
    • Contribute to the learning agenda for specific challenges, including through participation in meetings, such as the annual Grand Challenges meetings.
Funded innovators must retain supporting project documentation, including financial records, and may be audited by Grand Challenges Canada, DFID and/or USAID at any time up until March 31, 2028; associated requirements will be reflected in funding agreements.  



Submitted proposals go through a multi-step review process before the Humanitarian Grand Challenge Steering Committee makes a recommendation for funding. Grand Challenges Canada’s Board of Directors makes the final funding decisions. For more details: ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
  1. Eligible applicants include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., non-profit organizations 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. Sole proprietorships are not eligible for funding.  United Nations country offices are not eligible to apply.
  2. A project can have only one Project Lead, who must be affiliated with the institution from which the proposal is being submitted.
  3. 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.
  4. Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the Review Committee.
  5. The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners may, at any time and at their sole discretion, modify eligibility criteria with respect to individual applicants, Project Leads and/or eligible countries, to the extent that such modifications do not materially undermine the review process. (See Section 5.4.)
Please note that Grand Challenges Canada must approve any changes in applicant organization, institution or Project Lead from the originally-funded grant.


Submitting an Application/Letter of Intent There are two distinct submission streams: one for seed (via application form) and one for Transition To Scale (via Letter of Intent). Both seed applications and Transition To Scale Letters of Intent MUST BE submitted through Grand Challenges Canada’s Community Portal ( In order to gain access to the Portal, applicants must first create an account using the following link: Create an account. Once you have created an account, please allow up to one (1) business day for Grand Challenges Canada to process your account request. Once your information has been processed, you will be emailed login credentials to access the Portal to submit your application/Letter of Intent. To return to the Community Portal to continue working on your application at any time, please visit Seed applicants will be prompted to answer a series of questions about their innovative idea, goal, objectives and activities, approach, framework for measuring success, and budget. Transition To Scale applicants, via Letter of Intent, will describe their innovation, evidence of proof of concept, pathway to scale and sustainability, and proposed use of funds. For technical support, please email Innovator Toolbox Applicants are encouraged to access Grand Challenge Canada’s online Innovator Toolbox at, 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. Also see the Gender Equality Portal at for a set of gender equality tools. Questions Please first reference our “Frequently Asked Questions” page located Questions about this Request for Proposals that are not addressed in the above FAQ may be submitted by email to before April 5, 2018.

Application Timelines

Event Key Dates
Registration Deadline Applicants must create an account through Grand Challenges Canada’s Community Portal ( April 9, 2018
Application Deadline Applications must be submitted no later than 11:30 a.m. North America Eastern Time Zone (15:30 GMT) April 12, 2018
Invitations to submit full Transition To Scale applications July 2018
Notification of application status of seed project applications September 2018
Anticipated start date of seed projects December 2018
Anticipated start date of Transition To Scale projects Early 2019
Review Process The process for review of proposals for both seed and Transition to Scale funding includes an Eligibility Screen, Innovation Screen and Review Committee. Eligibility Screen Grand Challenges Canada will screen applications and Letters of Intent on the basis of the eligibility criteria outlined in Section 4.1. Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria will be removed from the competition. Innovation Screen Seed applications/Transition To Scale Letters of Intent will be scored internally against the criteria below, using responses to application/Letter of Intent questions in the “Project Summary” section. The two criteria are equally weighted. Note: The innovation screen will not evaluate the feasibility or quality of the project plan. (That evaluation will be done at a later stage in the process.) Proposals that lack innovation and relevance will be removed from the competition at this stage. Innovation Screen criteria:
  1. Innovation
    • Is the proposed idea clearly articulated?
    • Does the innovation represent more than an incremental improvement over current approaches?
  2. Relevance
    • Does the proposed solution address the specific problem under the Humanitarian Grand Challenge, as described in Sections 2.1 and 2.2?
    • Does the proposed solution target vulnerable people who are hard to reach and affected by conflict, as described in Section 2.3?
At Transition To Scale level, the most promising Letters of Intent will be invited to submit a full Transition To Scale application for due diligence by the Review Committee. Review Committee Screen For proposals that pass the Eligibility and Innovation screens, a Review Committee of scientific, social and business reviewers, including humanitarian experts and affected people, will advise on the merit of proposals, based on the evaluation criteria in Sections 4.4 and 4.5. Proposals will be ranked in four lists, one for each area of interest outlined in Section 2.2. Depending on the quality of proposals received, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners retain the right to narrow the focus to one or more of the four areas. Transition To Scale Due Diligence Following review of Transition To Scale Letters of Intent,  those invited to submit full Transition To Scale proposals will undergo extensive due diligence on potential for impact, operations, finances, technical parameters, intellectual property, partnerships, gender equality, environment sustainability, and human rights and inclusion. (See Section 4.5 for full Transition to Scale evaluation criteria.) Due diligence may include interviews with applicants, partners, advisors and third-party stakeholders. Funding recommendations will be made based on findings from the extensive due diligence process. Grand Challenges Canada, on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners, may choose to recommend applicants who do not meet all the Investment Criteria for funding of a lesser amount to focus on a few key areas necessary to transition to scale. To inform final decision-making, Grand Challenges Canada will draft a recommendation that explains the rationale for funding and will work with the innovator to refine and structure the investment during the due diligence process. At its discretion, Grand Challenges Canada may choose not to put forward applicants for a funding decision, due to information that arises in due diligence or any perceived weaknesses based on the Investment Criteria. Funding Decisions (Seed) Based on the results of the review committee, the Humanitarian Grand Challenge Steering Committee will make a funding recommendation to the Board of Directors of Grand Challenges Canada, which will make the final funding decisions at the Board’s sole discretion, including its reserved rights set out in Section 4.13. Only projects rated as fundable by the Review Committee may be recommended for funding. Due diligence is taken into account for all projects recommended by Review Committee for funding. Based on the results of the Review Committee or due diligence process, refinements to the proposed project plan, structure, amount, type of funding and oversight may be required during the negotiation of a funding agreement. Funding Decisions (Transition To Scale) Final funding decisions are made by Grand Challenges Canada’s Board of Directors. Recommendations for funding to the Board of Directors are made by the Investment Committee after review of staff recommendations (based on review of the application documents provided by the innovator and further due diligence) and other available information, such as brief interviews with the innovator.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Does the proposed solution have the potential to generate life-saving or life-improving assistance for vulnerable people in hard-to-reach locations in conflict-affected contexts? (Seed ONLY)
  • Has proof of concept been demonstrated for the proposed solution? (Transition To Scale ONLY)
    • Proof of concept: evidence generated in a controlled or limited setting of (1) improved assistance, lower reliance on importations, and/or reduction of other significant barrier(s) to obtaining assistance in conflict-generated contexts; and (2) demand for the solution.
  • Is the proposed solution appropriate for wider implementation in conflict settings?
  • Does the proposed idea apply to the most vulnerable in conflict-affected areas and have the potential to address inequalities?
Integrated Innovation
  • Is the innovation bold?
  • How well does the proposed idea integrate scientific/technological, social and business innovation?
  • To what extent will affected people be meaningfully engaged in designing, testing and iterating of the proposed innovation?
Project Execution Plan
  • Is the project execution plan designed to demonstrate proof of concept of the idea within the time and resources provided? (Seed ONLY)
      • Proof of concept: evidence generated in a controlled or limited setting of (1) improved assistance, lower reliance on importations, and/or reduction of other significant barrier(s) to obtaining assistance in conflict-generated contexts; and (2) potential to be implemented at scale in other contexts.
  • Does the proposal reflect a well-developed plan for scale and sustainability, including commitments from key stakeholders and partners needed to proceed along a path to scale and sustainability? (Transition To Scale ONLY)
  • Is there a connection with the private sector that will increase the likelihood of success?
  • Is the plan to monitor and evaluate impact sufficiently robust, in order to draw the appropriate conclusions by the end of the funding?
  • How well does the proposal take into account gender equality, environmental sustainability, and human rights and inclusion?
  • Is there evidence provided to indicate the likelihood of success, and a rigorous assessment of project risks, corruption risks, risks of diverting aid, safety and security risks, and associated mitigation strategies? (This should include privacy and data privacy of affected people, where relevant, and consider staff, affected people, the wider community and any other stakeholders.)
Leadership Capability to Champion Change
  • Do the Project Lead and key team members have the commitment and leadership potential needed to bring solutions to scale?
  • Are the proposed Project Lead and/or key team members appropriately trained, experienced and positioned to carry out the proposed work?
  • To what extent has the Project Lead and/or key team members demonstrated the ability to draw on the expertise of the private sector?
  • Have the Project Lead and/or key team members demonstrated the ability to understand and meet the needs of affected people in the context?
Value for Effort
  • Are the scope of the proposed work, the Project team’s capacity, and the funds requested reasonable and commensurate with the proposed proposal goals?
  • Does the proposal represent a particularly thoughtful and efficient use of resources?
Evaluation Criteria for Full Applications Invited full applications for Transition To Scale funding will be evaluated by Grand Challenges Canada and its Investment Committee, where applicable, based on the following criteria:
    • Integrated Innovation – How strong is the coordinated application of scientific/technological, social and business innovation to maximize the likelihood of going to scale and achieving sustainable impact at scale?
    • Impact – What is the potential for future lives saved and improved?
    • Entrepreneurship – Does the team have the capacity, skills and ability to implement their proposed vision and strategy?
    • Smart Partnerships – Does the team have sufficient strategic alliances and/or partnerships that will enable scaling of the innovation? At transition-to-scale level, engagement with the private sector is required. Matched funding will be viewed favourably as a strong sign of commitment from strategic partners.
    • Sustainability – Is there a viable path to reach financial sustainability via private and/or public channels (without further funding from the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners)?
    • Intended Scope of Work – Are the scope of the proposed plan and the funds requested reasonable and commensurate with the proposed goals for Transition to Scale?
    • Execution – Can the proposed plan be feasibly implemented, sustained and financially supported during the Transition To Scale funding period?
    • Ethical Compliance – Is the proposed plan compliant with ethical best practices?
Environmental Sustainability, Gender Equality Human Rights and Inclusion
  1. Environmental Sustainability – Does the proposal reflect Grand Challenges Canada’s commitment to ensuring the prevention of material adverse environmental effects?
  2. Gender Equality – Does the proposal reflect Grand Challenges Canada’s commitment to furthering the principles of gender equality?
  3. Human Rights and Inclusion – Does the proposal reflect Grand Challenges Canada’s commitment to furthering the promotion of Human Rights and Inclusion principles?
Global Access and Data Access
  1. Intellectual Property – Has the innovator obtained legal access to and/or managed intellectual property rights in a manner that enables the innovator to comply with Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Access Policy and Data Access Policy, and to provide rights to Grand Challenges Canada under a Global Access Agreement?
  2. Global Access – Is the innovator’s Action Plan likely to lead to meaningful access to the innovation for target beneficiaries, particularly those among the vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities?
  3. Data Access – Does the innovator’s Action Plan contemplate publication and/or dissemination of results and data in an open, timely manner?

Financial Terms and Eligible Costs

Costs directly related to the implementation of the project are eligible as per the Eligible & Ineligible Expenses Directive. Indirect/Overhead Costs Indirect/overhead costs are not eligible. Terms of Payments
  1. Advance Payments:  An initial advance equal to the estimated cash flow requirements for eligible costs forecasted for the first period will be made upon signature of the Agreement. Subsequent payments will be made through quarterly advances based on the estimated cash flow requirements for Eligible Costs. Advances will be subject to a 5% holdback on the amount forecasted.
  2. All advance requests and financial reports submitted shall be signed by a senior executive holding a certified professional accounting designation.
  3. Outstanding Advances:  Advance payments cannot cover more than two periods and at no time shall there be outstanding advances covering the cash flow requirements of more than two periods. For example, before an advance payment is issued for a third period, the first period must be accounted for.
  4. Separate Bank Account and Interest Earned on Advance Payments:  A separate bank account, bearing interest, shall be maintained for the project.
  5. Final payment will be subject to the following conditions:
      1. The Project has been completed in accordance with the Agreement.
      2. Grand Challenges Canada has received and accepted the final report.
      3. Grand Challenges Canada has received a certificate stating that financial obligations to employees, subcontractors or suppliers with respect to Grand Challenges Canada's contribution to the Project have been fully discharged.
Audit Funded innovators may be audited by Grand Challenges Canada or any of its partners, at any time up until March 31, 2028, and must retain project records during that period, all of which will be reflected in each funding agreement. Submission Materials and Privacy Notice All application materials submitted to Grand Challenges Canada in connection with this Request for Proposals (collectively, “Submission Materials”) may be shared with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and/or with other partners, and may be publicly disclosed. By submitting any Submission Materials to Grand Challenges Canada, each applicant thereby grants to Grand Challenges Canada and USAID worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, and royalty free license to use, disclose, reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, the Submission Materials, in any manner and for any purpose, and to have or permit others to do so on the same terms.  This includes sharing proposals with other challenge and prize funds run by academic, private sector, humanitarian and United Nation agencies. The proposals will be subject to external review by independent subject-matter experts and potential co-funders (the results of which will be confidential), in addition to analysis by the Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners. Please carefully consider the information included in the Submission Materials. If you have any doubts about the wisdom of disclosure of confidential or proprietary information (including information related to inventions), we recommend you consult with your legal counsel and take any steps you deem necessary to protect your intellectual property. You may wish to consider whether such information is critical for evaluating the submission and whether more general, non-confidential information may be adequate as an alternative for these purposes. Grand Challenges Canada expressly disclaims any and all liability that may arise from disclosure of confidential information contained in Submission Materials. Warranty By providing any Submission Materials, the applicant(s) represent and warrant that they have the right to provide the information submitted and to grant the above licenses. Applicants with questions concerning the contents of their Submission Materials may contact us by email at Intellectual Property (IP) The solutions supported by this program comprise innovative technologies, services, business models, knowledge and/or products to promote humanitarian action in conflict-affected contexts. In order to ensure meaningful access for target populations, the successful development and deployment of these solutions may require involvement by, support of and/or collaboration with multiple organizations, including the private sector, government and academic and/or non-profit research institutions. Accordingly, it is the intent of this program to support the formation of appropriate partnerships that are essential to meet these urgent global health needs. Successful applicants retain ownership of intellectual property rights in supported innovations, including those rights that arise in outputs of funded projects. Grand Challenges Canada aims, however, to ensure that any such intellectual property rights are utilized and managed in a manner that is consistent with achieving the goals of this program. Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Access Policy will guide our approach to intellectual property, and we urge all applicants to consider their willingness to submit an application in compliance with Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Access Policy. Successful applicants will be required to commit to compliance with Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Access Policy and to sign a Global Access Agreement with Grand Challenges Canada, in line with the Guiding Principles, applicable to the innovative solutions and project outputs supported by this program. The Global Access Agreement will provide a non-exclusive license to intellectual property rights in supported innovations (including background intellectual property) permitting Grand Challenges Canada and its funding partners and its sub-licensees to implement and disseminate products, processes, knowledge or solutions in low- and middle-income countries in which applicants or their partners are unable to achieve meaningful accessibility. Applicants should note that Grand Challenges Canada may be required to provide sub-license or sub-distribution rights to the funding partners, or one or more persons appointed by the funding partners. Applicants should note that the above global access commitments survive the end of project activities. Data Access Grand Challenges Canada is committed to optimizing the use of data to translate knowledge into life-saving solutions. To fulfill this objective, data must be made widely and rapidly available to Grand Challenges Canada’s research community and the broader humanitarian community through ethical and efficient data access practices. In accordance with global access, data access represents an elaboration of the second guiding principle of the Global Access Policy, which states that knowledge gained through discovery is broadly, and as promptly as possible, distributed between related projects and to the global scientific community. At a minimum, ‘data’ refers to final, annotated quantitative and qualitative datasets, and accompanying information, such as metadata, codebooks, data dictionaries, questionnaires and protocols. Grand Challenges Canada recognizes the value of intellectual property and commercialization, and the benefits of first and continuing use of data, but not prolonged or exclusive use. In some cases, intellectual property protection, laws or regulations may delay or preclude access to data. In such cases, the grantee will provide justification to warrant a partial or complete waiver of the data access requirement. Rights of Grand Challenges Canada This Request for Proposals is part of a discretionary granting program. Submission of an application does not create a contractual relationship between the applicant and Grand Challenges Canada. Grand Challenges Canada reserves the right, in its sole discretion and without notice, to:
  1. Cancel this Request for Proposals at any time and for any reason.
  2. Amend and reissue the Request for Proposals at any time and for any reason. This Request for Proposals is valid commencing on February 19, 2018, and supersedes any previous Request for Proposals of this nature. The terms and conditions of this Request for Proposals apply to all applications submitted from February 19, 2018, going forward and may be replaced by a revised Request for Proposals in the future. We recommend checking for any revisions to the Request for Proposals prior to the submission of your application.
  3. Accept or reject any application that is non-conforming because it does not meet the eligibility criteria, does not comply with the application instructions and/or does not comply with the instructions for allowable costs.
  4. Not award an application based on performance on a previous Grand Challenges Canada grant or project, or based on the award of a grant to the applicant for the same or similar research by one of Grand Challenges Canada’s partners or collaborating institutions.
  5. Disqualify any application at any stage where there is an indication that the proposal was, in any way, plagiarized.
  6. Accept or reject any or all applications, regardless of an application’s ranking, based on the evaluation criteria, with or without providing an explanation.
  7. Award applications with different funding amounts, different durations and/or different conditions than set out above.
  8. Verify any information provided by applicants through independent research or by contacting third parties deemed to be reliable by Grand Challenges Canada, and use that information to inform Grand Challenges Canada’s funding decision.
  9. Provide grants in collaboration with funding partners. This may involve separate grant agreements with each institution (i.e., one with Grand Challenges Canada and one with a partner institution), as well as distinct transfers of funds. Any such funding may be subject to terms and conditions beyond those described herein. Grand Challenges Canada reserves the right to negotiate for any additional IP requirements/terms and conditions of any Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners.
Research Assurances As noted above in Section 2.10, it is the policy of Grand Challenges Canada that research involving human subjects, research with animals and research subject to additional regulatory requirements must be conducted in accordance with the highest internationally-recognized ethical standards. In order to receive funds from Grand Challenges Canada, initially and throughout the course of a research project, researchers must affirm and document compliance with the guiding ethical principles and standards outlined below:
  1. Research involving human participants must be conducted in a manner that demonstrates, protects and preserves respect for persons, concern for the welfare of individuals, families and communities, and justice.
  2. Research involving animals must be conducted in a manner that ensures their humane care and treatment.
  3. Certain research endeavours, including but not limited to research with recombinant DNA, biohazards and genetically modified organisms, may be subject to enhanced regulation and oversight.
As applicable to the individual project, Grand Challenges Canada will require that, for each venue in which any part of the project is conducted (either by your institution or a sub-grantee or subcontractor), all legal and regulatory approvals for the activities being conducted will be obtained in advance of commencing the regulated activity. We will further require you to agree that no funds will be expended to enroll human subjects until the necessary regulatory and ethical bodies’ approvals are obtained. For further details, please see Grand Challenges Canada’s Ethics Policy.